7 Ways To Prevent A Stroke

Stroke is the 3rd highest killer in Malaysia. 11% of all deaths in Malaysia are associated with a stroke1.  Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from a stroke:

1) Control your blood pressure2

·         Target: < 130/80mmHg

·         How to achieve this:

        i.            Exercise

      ii.            Diet: reduce salt intake & avoid high cholesterol foods

    iii.            Seek medical treatment if BP is >140/90mmHg

 

2) Control your blood sugar2, 3

·         Target:(Targets may differ in certain groups such as elderly, concurrent diseases, etc.)

        i.            HbA1c < 6.5%

      ii.            Fasting blood sugar: 4.4 – 7.0 mmol/L

    iii.            Blood sugar 90 minutes after food: 4.4 – 8.5 mmol/L

·         How to achieve this:

        i.            Monitor your blood sugar, i.e. A1c to monitor every 3-6 months

      ii.            Get a home blood sugar monitoring device for daily or weekly monitoring

    iii.            Adopt a healthy diet, exercise and take anti-diabetic medicines if prescribed

 

3) Control your cholesterol2

·         Target: LDL level

        i.            High risk: <2.6mmol/L

      ii.            1 or more risk factor: <3.4mmol/L

    iii.            Low risk: <4.2mmol/L

·         How to achieve this:

        i.            Identify with your doctor your risk profile for stroke

      ii.            Monitor your cholesterol blood levels every 3-6 months

    iii.            Adopt a healthy diet, exercise and take anti-cholesterol medicines if prescribed

 

4) Exercise more5, 6

·         Target:

        i.            Moderate intensity exercise 5 times a week,  

      ii.            30 minutes per exercise session

·         How to achieve this:

        i.            Make exercise as part of your daily or weekly routine

      ii.            Find an exercise partner or group

    iii.            Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you can

     iv.            Exercise at a level which you are breathing hard but you can still speak

 

5) Weight control5, 7

·         Target: BMI: 18.5 – 25 kg/m2

·         How to achieve this:

        i.            Identify your BMI with an online calculator

      ii.            Diet:  Try not to eat more than 1500 to 2000 calories a day in order to maintain body weight

    iii.            Exercise

 

Reference:

  1. World Health Rankings. Malaysia: Stroke. (Source: WHO 2017). Web link: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/malaysia-stroke
  2. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Management of ischaemic stroke. 2nd Edition (2012). Ministry of Health Malaysia.
  3. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. 5th Edition (2016). Ministry of Health Malaysia.
  4. UK Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines. Williams Lea. (August 2016). Department of Health, UK.
  5. 7 Things you can do to prevent a stroke. Havard Health Publishing, Havard Medical School (November 2017). Web link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/8-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke
  6. Malaysian Dietary Guidelines. Ministry of Health, Malaysia (2013) Message 3: Be physically active every day.
  7. Malaysian Dietary Guidelines. Ministry of Health, Malaysia (2013) Message 2: Maintain body weight in a healthy range