It takes less than a minute for a stroke to change a person's life forever. However, a few lifestyle changes and knowing the most common signs can save an individual from the potentially fatal attack.
The most simple and effective way to reduce stroke risk is exercise. If you are obese or overweight, your risk factors for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes increases and so does your risk for a stroke.
Extra weight places an added strain on your entire circulatory system, but aerobic exercise can be a good way to lose those extra pounds and substantially improve your health.
High blood pressure is also one of the leading causes of stroke, however reducing salt intake can significantly help reduce the risk.
A heart-healthy diet and maintaining the balance between good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) is the best way to prevent heart disease and the increased risk of stroke.
People are advised to quit smoking as a smoker is at twice the risk of having a stroke. Smoking damages blood vessels, raises blood pressure and speeds up the clogging of arteries.
"When someone does have a stroke they may experience either slight or extremely noticeable physical changes," said Dr. Randolph Marshall, director of the Stroke Division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Centre.
"The most effective way to prevent the permanent damage associated with stroke is to recognize the signs of an attack and to seek medical attention immediately," he added.
The most common signs of a stroke are
1. Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs -- specifically on one side of the body.
2. Trouble speaking, with a feeling of confusion and slurred speech or trouble speaking.
3. Loss of Balance. Dizziness and trouble walking.
4. Poor Eyesight. A loss of vision in one or both of the eyes
5. Headache. A sudden headache that occurs for no apparent reason.