Did you know stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the US? We become more vulnerable to diseases like stroke and dementia as we age.
The good news is both these conditions are preventable. All you need to do is change your elderly’s lifestyle, monitor their blood pressure regularly, and encourage them to exercise daily to stay fit and healthy.
Whether you’re a family member or a paid companion for the elderly in the UK, this post will help you alleviate the effects of the risk of stroke and dementia.
What is Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood flow is disconnected to part of your brain. In most cases, this happens because of a blood clot. However, there might be other reasons as well that block the flow. This type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke.
Another type of stroke is called a hemorrhagic stroke. They’re caused by bleeding in the brain.
Stroke is prevalent in seniors, especially in people above the age of 65. The mortality rate is higher in women (60%) than men (40%). Your elderly are at a greater risk of stroke if they have this disease in their family history. Also, they’re more likely to get it if they have been following an unhealthy lifestyle throughout their life.
While you cannot change their family history nor turn back the clock, you can still do a few things to tilt the odds in your elderly’s favor.
Things You Can Do to Prevent a Stroke in Seniors
Maintain Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the biggest cause of stroke in the elderly. The normal range is 120/80. You’re struggling with hypertension or high blood pressure if you get higher readings regularly.
Monitoring and treating high blood pressure is important. Here’s what you need to do to keep your elderly’s blood pressure in control:
- Do not let your elderly consume more than 1500 milligrams of salt
- Avoid saturated fats
- Get more exercise
- Control their alcohol/nicotine consumption
Stay Away From Nicotine and Alcohol
Your elderly are at a higher risk of stroke if they smoke a lot or consume alcohol regularly. Nicotine increases your blood pressure, making you more vulnerable to diseases like stroke and lung cancer.
Talk with your elderly’s doctor and look for ways to help them reduce their nicotine and alcohol consumption.
Many diseases are linked to obesity, including stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. If you’re a caregiver and your elderly are overweight, helping them shed a few pounds can have a massive impact on their stroke risk.
There are two ways you can encourage seniors to reduce and maintain their weight. First, control the amount of food they consume daily. Second, increase the number of workouts they do.
Exercise is important for everyone. Obviously, you can’t ask your elderly to do high-intensity workouts regularly. But exercise at a moderate intensity can do wonders for your seniors health.
Take them for a walk and encourage them to get enrolled in a fitness club. If they can’t exercise consecutively for 30-35 minutes, you can break it up into short 10-15 minutes sessions.
Control Your Diabetes
High blood sugar can make the elderly more vulnerable to stroke. Poorly-managed diabetes can cause clots inside your blood vessels, leading to the insufficient blood supply to the brain.
Check your elderly’s blood sugar levels regularly. Also, get them checked by the specialists every few months so they can prescribe the right medicines.
Treat Atrial Fibrillation
Irregular heartbeats can also cause clots inside your blood vessels. The elderly suffering from atrial fibrillation are at a 5-times higher risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
Get your elderly checked if you observe symptoms such as irregular heartbeats, palpitations, shortness of breath, etc. The doctor may prescribe blood thinners to alleviate their stroke risk.
Monitor Signs of Stroke
Signs of stroke vary in men and women. Immediately call a doctor if you observe any of these early warning signs:
- Sudden vision issues
- Speech/communication issues
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Keep Your Cholesterol Numbers in Healthy Range
High cholesterol levels can also cause blood clotting, which can then lead to heart attack and stroke.