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Stroke Update: Aspirin Is Out, Dancing Is In

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Remember back in the 80s when everyone and their uncle started taking aspirin to prevent strokes and heart attacks?

According to a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, a daily low-dose aspirin has no effect on prolonging life in healthy seniors. To the contrary, prolonged consumption increases the risk for severe bleeding and hemorrhaging. 

Both the American Heart Association and The American College of Cardiology (ACC) say that a daily dose of 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin should no longer be given to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in people older than 70 or any adult with an increased risk of bleeding.

Sorry to say, there’s no magic pill.

But there is this: up to 80% of strokes can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with health care professionals to address conditions that raise your risk for stroke. ACC suggests:

• Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fish. Limit salt, saturated fats, fried foods, processed meats and sweetened beverages. 

• Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That’s about 20 minutes a day. This could include brisk walking, swimming, cycling—or dancing (they don’t say a partner is required but it’s sure more fun!)

• If you’re overweight, losing 5-10% of body weight can decrease your risk of stroke, heart disease and other health issues.

• Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.

• Limit your alcohol, which can raise blood pressure and increase your risk for a stroke. Gentlemen, no more than two drinks a day. Ladies, no more than one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Strokes can occur at any age, but your risk increases as you get older. Ask about a stroke policy through your association and AMBA to cover potentially high costs that Medicare might not.

And whatever you do, keep dancing!

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/03/19/aspirin-heart-attack-stroke-diet-exercise-recommendations/3209612002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/09/17/daily-aspirin-risk-healthy-older-people-nejm-study/1333165002/

https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm

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