May is both National Stroke Awareness Month and National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. But that’s not the only link they share. High blood pressure damages arteries throughout the body, creating conditions where they can burst or clog more easily. Weakened arteries in the brain, resulting from high blood pressure, increase your higher risk of a stroke — which is why managing high blood pressure is critical to reduce your chance of having a stroke.
Controlling Your Blood Pressure Can Help Control Your Risk of a Stroke
Are you one of the nearly 60,000,000 Americans who have high blood pressure? Before you answer “no”, consider that almost 1/3 of people who have high blood pressure don’t even know it! That’s why the following tips are imperative to keep your blood pressure in check:
- Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year – and even more often if you have a history of high blood pressure, have had a heart attack, are diabetic or are overweight.
- Know your family medical history. Make sure your family doctor is aware if your family has a history of high blood pressure and discuss with your doctor measures you can take to control your blood pressure.
- If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to follow the recommendations of your doctor. Changes in diet, regular exercise and the use of medication can help save your life.
An Improved Lifestyle Can Improve Your Ability to Prevent a Stroke
Stroke is one of the most preventable of all life-threatening health problems. In fact, an overwhelming 80% of strokes are caused by lifestyle. By making simple lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk of stroke.
- Talk with your doctor about an exercise regimen that would be best for you. Even a simple 20 minute walk can make an important difference.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that is low in fat and sodium, but rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation.
- Don’t smoke! If you are a regular smoker, make a resolution to quit. It may be one of the very best things you can do for your health.
Still, there are some risk factors for a stroke that cannot be controlled, such as age or race. If a stroke does happen, you want to be as prepared as possible. Your association and AMBA offer a Stroke Policy that will pay a benefit directly to you to help cover out-of-pocket expenses related to stroke diagnosis and treatment. Call AMBA at 866-615-4063 or click to request a free Benefits Review.