In 2020, know your ABCs!

Paying attention to your ABCs can decrease the risk of stroke and will promote positive health changes.

A – A1C is a blood test used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes. Diabetes is a well-established risk factor for stroke. Learning about your diabetes risk will help you better understand your stroke risk. “A” can also stand for “aspirin” when appropriate and recommended by your physician to decrease stroke risk.

B – Blood pressure control through weight loss, exercise, a healthy diet low in sodium, and by limiting alcohol, caffeine and stress can decrease stroke risk. Also, blood pressure medication prescribed by your physician should be taken as recommended. High blood pressure may have no obvious symptoms, so it is important to measure your blood pressure regularly.

C – Cholesterol can be lowered by changing your diet to reduce saturated fats and eliminate trans fats that raise LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Instead, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Exercise and weight loss lowers cholesterol as well as blood pressure.

S – Smoking a single cigarette increases your blood pressure for many minutes. Quitting smoking helps decrease blood pressure, improves HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol) and improves blood circulation.

For more information about stroke signs and prevention, see https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts_stroke.htm

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