A stroke is caused when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.
There are three types of strokes that can occur: Ischemic stroke (when blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked); Hemorrhagic stroke (when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures); and Transient ischemic attack (a warning or “mini-stroke” that temporarily blocks blood flow). All of these require immediate medical attention as damage to the brain starts to occur almost immediately.
And while there are certain risk factors that increase the odds of your parent having a stroke that he doesn’t have any control over (age, sex [men are more likely to have strokes], and family history), there are also some preventative actions you can help your parent do now to reduce the odds of a stroke occurring.
Smoking causes significant damage to the body, including arteries, by increasing the number of fatty deposits in arteries. It also raises blood pressure and increases the chance of blood clots. While quitting smoking is never easy, especially if your parent has been smoking for decades, with the support of you and those around him (like your home care provider and other family members), he’s more likely to find success with smoking cessation programs.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day in moderate-intensity workouts helps the most. Have your home care provider assist by taking walks with your parent or bringing him to places where he can safely enjoy some physical activity. Always check with your parent’s physician before he begins any new exercise program to ensure he is physically able to partake in the activity without risking injury.
Help your parent reduce his risk of stroke by limiting his intake of salt and fat. Some of the more commonly over-salted foods are highly processed meals and products. Reducing salt intake won’t be so much about your parent reducing how much salt he sprinkles on his food, but more about how much sodium is already in the food he eats. If your parent is uncertain on how to read the food nutrition labels of what he’s purchasing, have either yourself or your home care provider go grocery shopping with him to help him purchase foods that provide good nutrition without high fat or salt. Fresh is always best, but when your parent needs the convenience of frozen or canned, helping him understand food labels will let him make better food choices.
If your parent enjoys alcohol, have him reduce his alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day (women should strive to keep their drinking to only one alcoholic drink per day). An occasional drink here or there will not hurt, but heavy drinking can lead to multiple health issues, including increasing the risk for strokes.
Like so many health concerns, having your parent make healthy choices in all areas of his life will reduce his chances of having a stroke as well as suffering from other health-related illnesses.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Huntington, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau, and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
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