(HealthDay News) — The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have issued new guidelines that reinforce that a healthy lifestyle is key to the primary prevention of stroke. The guidelines were published online in Stroke.
“We have a huge opportunity to improve how we prevent new strokes, because risk factors that can be changed or controlled, especially high blood pressure, account for 90 percent of strokes,” said James Meschia, MD, lead author of the guidelines and professor and chairman of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., in an American Heart Association news release.
The guidelines make several recommendations, including eating a Mediterranean or DASH-style (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet with nuts added; monitoring blood pressure at home with a portable cuff device and preventing hypertension by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight; getting blood pressure checked by a health care provider every year; limiting sodium intake; not smoking; and avoiding secondhand smoke.
“Talking about stroke prevention is worthwhile,” Meschia said. “In many instances, stroke isn’t fatal, but it leads to years of physical, emotional and mental impairment that could be avoided.”