Reduce Your Risk of Stroke

hh-9.jpgYour health and wellness are enhanced or threatened by your lifestyle choices. What will you choose? For heart health, or against it?

Twin brothers Steve and Todd share the same health risks based on heredity, since they have identical genes. They were raised together, educated together and still live in the same town. You’d think they’d have the same heart health risks. Then why is one far more likely to have a stroke?

Todd has taken better care of himself in small ways and may live much longer than his brother because of it. He married a nutritionist, eats well and has been taking supplements most of his adult life. He and his wife also enjoy taking a walk together each evening after dinner. When they vacation, they go skiing in the mountains or swimming at the beach.

Steve, on the other hand, likes his steaks and desserts, ‘isn’t into’ taking vitamins or eating vegetables, and has gained quite a few pounds over the years. His vacation of choice is an ‘all-you-can-eat’ cruise. He’d rather watch a game on TV, beer in hand, than go out and play catch with his boys.

Does either scenario sound familiar? One is headed for an active retirement and a long life. The other is waiting to be disabled by a stroke or to die of a heart attack before he gets to see his grandchildren grown. Why the difference?

What we eat, what supplements we take and how active we are makes all the difference. Our level of fitness is an excellent predictor of our risk of stroke. The results of an eighteen-year study following 61,000 adults were recently published. The study showed that being just moderately fit reduced chances for a stroke by more than 40%! This level of fitness can be achieved by a brisk 30-minute daily walk.

Another study of 20,000 people over nine years discovered that subjects who consumed sufficient vitamin C were 42% less likely to suffer a stroke than people who didn’t get enough C.

In a Men’s Health article we reviewed the benefits of sunlight and vitamin D on all aspects of our wellbeing, including our heart health. Researchers have confirmed that those people who have limited sun exposure (in cooler climates) and do not take supplemental vitamin D are commonly vitamin D deficient. This alone increases their stroke risks by 60%. If they also have high blood pressure along with low vitamin D levels, their risk of stroke or heart failure becomes double!

We’ll cover the tremendous benefits of taking anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, clot-preventing omega-3 fish oils in another issue. But know that these fish oils work wonders on our cardiovascular systems, reducing every risk factor and helping to prevent strokes.

Why risk serious, life-threatening cardiovascular episodes, or being disabled by a stroke? Simple actions like walking, eating well and taking vitamins can reduce our chances of suffering or dying from such events.

Will you be a short-lived ‘Steve,’ or a healthy ‘Todd’? Your heart health choices make all the difference.

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