Stroke: Five lifestyle choices that increase your risk of a deadly brain attack

Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes

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A stroke is not reserved for an ageing man or woman – the brain attack can occur at any age. Scarily, every five minutes in the UK, a person has a deadly stroke. What triggers the cerebrovascular disease to strike? Firstly, the experts at John Hopkins Medicine certified that taking the contraceptive pill can increase your risk of a stroke. “Overall, more women than men have strokes in the UK,” the Stroke Association pointed out.

However, this difference in stroke figures is said to be down to the extended longevity women experience compared to men.

The combined oral contraceptive (combo) pill and contraceptive patch include the hormone oestrogen, which is behind the increased risk of stroke.

This is why it’s important to let your doctor know if you smoke (even if only socially), as both combined increase a risk stroke further.

Speaking of which, smoking is another lifestyle choice that can significantly increase your stroke risk.

“Smoking almost doubles your risk for an ischemic stroke,” the experts at John Hopkins Medicine warned.

Another lifestyle choice – you have control over – is how much exercise you do on a daily basis.

A lack of exercise is a contributing risk factor for having a stroke – as is excessive alcohol use.

“More than two drinks per day raises your blood pressure,” the experts stated, adding: “Binge drinking can lead to stroke.”

What is classified as binge drinking?

The NHS said: “Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.”

For women, six units of alcohol in a single session is classified as binge drinking.

For men, eight units of alcohol in a single session is classified as binge drinking.

To put this into perspective, two pints of (five percent) beer is equivalent to six units.

Meanwhile, three glasses of 175ml wine is equivalent to 6.3 units, meaning more than two glasses is considered binge drinking.

If you would like to check out the units each drink of your choice contains, visit Alcohol Change UK.

Current national guidelines in the UK recommend people to drink no more than 14 units per week.

In addition, people are encouraged to have several drink-free days during a week.

The use of illegal drugs also carries a high risk of leading to a deadly stroke.

In order to minimise your risk of a stroke, it is wise to:

  • Be brazenly honest with your doctor
  • Exercise regularly
  • Be a non-smoker
  • Don’t take illegal drugs
  • Be sensible with drinking, or do not drink alcohol at all.

Leading a healthy lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet can also help you to reduce your risk of a stroke.

Also keep on top of your health by visiting your doctor to keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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