What is a Stroke?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a stroke occurs when “something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts“. The brain controls a persons movements, stores their memories and also controls many of the bodies functions, such as breathing and digestion.

The brain needs oxygen to work properly, and the jobs of your arteries is to delivery oxygen-rich blood to all the different parts of your brain. If the flow of blood is blocked,the brain cells start to die as they are not receiving oxygen – this causes a stroke.

There are two types of strokes – an Ischemic stroke and a Hemorrhagic stroke.

Approximately 87% of strokes are Ischemic Strokes, which “occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. Fatty deposits called plaque can also cause blockages by building up in the blood vessels“.

A Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when “an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures (breaks open). The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which damages them“. Conditions such as high blood pressure and aneurysms can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.


Some common signs of stroke in Men and Women are:

•  Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

•  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.

•  Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

•  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.

•  Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

7 Measures that can help to prevent a Stroke

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 17.5 million people die of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke in one year. The good news, however, is that 80% of strokes are preventable. Knowledge is power – If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk.
There are 7 measures that can support you to prevent a stroke. Stroke prevention should start today – protect yourself and avoid stroke, regardless of your age or family history.

•  Lower your Blood Pressure

•  Treat Atrial Fibrillation

•  Treat Diabetes

•  Weight Loss

•  Quit Smoking

•  Exercising More

•  Drinking Less Alcohol

1. Lower your Blood Pressure

Lowering your Blood Pressure is one of the 7 measures that can help to prevent a stroke – high blood pressure is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women. Monitoring blood pressure and, if it is elevated, treating it, is probably the biggest difference people can make to their vascular health. One should maintain a normal blood pressure of Systolic 120-129 mmgH and Diastolic 80-89 mmgH.

Measure you blood pressure and keep an eye on your blood pressure levels regularly with one of the Rossmax Blood Pressure Monitors.

How to reduce your blood pressure values:

•  Reduce the salt in your diet to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon)

•  Avoid high-cholesterol foods, such as burgers, cheese, and ice cream

•  Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one serving of fish two to three times a week, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy

•  Get more exercise – at least 30 minutes of activity a day or more, if possible

•  If needed, take blood pressure medication

2. Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart. Those clots can then travel to the brain, producing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation carries almost a fivefold risk of stroke and should be taken very seriously.

To detect Atrial Fibrillation, consider purchasing the Rossmax PARR X5 Technology Blood Pressure Monitor – this monitor detects Atrial Fibrillation, Premature Contraction, Tachycardia and Bradycardia with one single blood pressure measurement.

How to treat Atrial Fibrillation:

•  If your blood pressure monitor X5 shows AFib, see your doctor as soon as possible. You may need to take medication to reduce your stroke risk from atrial fibrillation, your doctor can guide you through this treatment

•  If you have symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor for an exam

3. Treat Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.

Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades. Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making clots more likely to form inside them.

How to get your glucose values under control:

•  Monitor your blood sugar as directed by your doctor

•  Use diet, exercise, and medication to keep your blood sugar within the recommended range

4. Weight Loss

Obesity, as well as the complications linked to it (including high blood pressure and diabetes), raises your odds of having a stroke. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 5 kg can have a real impact on your stroke risk.

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. The issue has grown to epidemic proportions, with over 4 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese in 2017 according to the global burden of disease.

Tips to reduce your weight:

•  Try to eat no more than 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day (depending on your activity level and your current BMI)

•  Increase the amount of exercise you do with activities like walking, hiking, biking, golfing, yoga or playing tennis, and by making activity part of every single day

5. Quit Smoking

Smoking accelerates clot formation in a couple of different ways. It thickens your blood and it increases the amount of plaque build-up in the arteries. Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, smoking cessation is one of the most powerful and significant lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your stroke risk.

One can determine the prevailing stiffness of your artery and check for low oxygen levels which may caused by a blood clot in your lungs with a Rossmax Pulse Oximeter.

Tips to achieve a smoking-free life:

•  Ask your doctor for advice on the most appropriate way for you to quit

•  Use quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pills or patches, counselling or medication

•  Don’t give up – most smokers need several tries to quit. See each attempt as bringing you one step closer to successfully beating the habit

•  Try holistic methods

6. Exercising More

Exercise contributes to losing weight and lowering blood pressure, but it also stands on its own as a independent stroke reducer. Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.

Popular ways to be active include walking, cycling, wheeling, sports, active recreation and play, and can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment by everybody.

The World Health Organisation has found that one in four adults and 81% of adolescents do not do enough physical activity. Furthermore, as countries develop economically, levels of inactivity increase and can be as high as 70%, due to changing transport patterns, increased use of technology for work and recreation, cultural values and increasing sedentary behaviours.

Tips to motivate yourself to exercise:

•  Take a walk around your neighbourhood every morning after breakfast

•  Start going to the fitness classes or the gym with friends

•  When you exercise, reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk

•  Take the stairs instead of an elevator when you can

•  If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day

•  Measure your activities with your Smartphone or Watch

7. Drinking Less Alcohol

Drinking little alcohol may decrease your risk of stroke. Studies show that if you have about one drink per day, your risk may be lower. Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up very sharply. Enjoy alcohol-free drinks or drink only moderate amounts of alcohol.

•  Drink maximum one glass of alcohol a day

•  Make red wine your first choice, because it contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain

•  Watch your portion sizes – a standard-sized drink is a 1.5 decilitre (dl) glass of wine, 3.5 dl beer, or 4ml glass of hard liquor

Identify A Stroke with the B-E-F-A-S-T Method

Too many people ignore the signs of stroke because they question whether their symptoms are real. Don’t wait if you have any unusual symptoms – listen to your body and trust your instincts. If something is off, get professional help right away.

Look out for the following symptoms:

•  B (Balance) – A loss of Balance or Dizziness

•  E (Eyes) – Blurred Vision or vision loss

•  F (Face) – One side of the face is drooping

•  A (Arms) – Weakness on one bodyside

•  S (Speech) – Speech is slurred or sounds off

•  T (Time) – Call for an ambulance immediately