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Stroke is a brain attack. It occurs when the blood supply to the brain is affected. Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and accounts for more than 10 per cent of deaths in Singapore. The risk of stroke can be reduced. Remember, prevention is better than cure

Here are the top 10 tips to reduce risk of stroke, recommended by Head & Senior Consultant, Associate Professor Deidre A​​nne De Silva​ from the Department of Neurology at National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), a member of the SingHealth group. 

1) Control blood pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the most important risk factor in stroke prevention. Uncontrolled hypertension increases four-fold your risk of stroke. High blood pressure should be treated if it is repeatedly above 140/90 mmHg. If you have diabetes, your blood pressure should be below 130/85 mmHg. In addition to medication, lifestyle plays an important role in controlling blood pressure. Having a healthy diet, reducing your intake of alcohol and salt and exercising regularly are some lifestyle measures that reduce blood pressure.

2) Control blood sugar levels

Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels in the body. Uncontrolled diabetes over a long period of time can cause damage to your blood vessels and nerves. The risk of stroke is 1.5 times more in diabetics. Good control of blood sugar in diabetics reduces the risk of stroke. A healthy diet, taking medication as prescribed by your doctors and regular monitoring is crucial in controlling blood sugar levels.

3) Control cholesterol levels

High cholesterol can cause the narrowing of blood vessels in your body. This can lead to blockage of the blood flow to your vital organs including the brain, increasing the risk of stroke. Diet control including reducing intake of foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats, such as coconut milk, deep fried foods and seafood, as well as medication can control cholesterol levels.

4) Stop smoking

Smoking increases your risk of stroke by 1.5 to 2.5 times. This risk is significantly reduced as soon as you stop smoking, and will be equivalent to that of a non-smoker within five years of stopping. So stop smoking today. Consult your doctor who can help you to stop smoking.

5) Maintain an ideal body weight

Obesity is the accumulation of excess body fat. It is associated with various stroke risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Stroke risk is particularly high with fat deposits around the abdominal region. You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) by using your height and weight. ​To obtain your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by your height x height in metres. The ideal range for an Asian body frame is 18.5 to 22.9. An ideal body weight is maintained by having a healthy diet and exercising regularly.​​

See the previous page for four fast facts about stroke

Read the next page for five more doctor-recommended tips to prevent stroke.

Ref: L20​

Check out other articles on stroke:

When Stroke Strikes During Sleep

Beware of Mini Stroke – TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)

Suffered a Stroke? 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

What to Expect When a Stroke Occurs

Dealing with Complications After a Stroke

Testing Language Problems in Stroke Victims