If you are potentially at risk of stroke or heart attack you need to read this. The science has improved a lot about monitoring and preventing these two deadly events. Scientists can more accurately predict how at-risk someone is based on their medical history, current health and genetics.
Our first and most important recommendation is to know your risk.
Get screened to find out how much you, your DNA, and your body's current state are at risk of heart attack or stroke. The best and most affordable screenings for this in the US are from Life Line Screening of America. They will test:
- Carotid Artery Screening (Plaque)
- Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Osteoporosis Risk
The price is extremely affordable at $149 (currently 50% off).
If you complete the screening and find you are at risk, in addition to whatever your doctor prescribes you, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:
1. Get regular exercise.
We suggest utilizing an exercise app like FitOn . FitOn has Fitness, Wellness and Nutrition sections with tons of free workouts, recipes and information. I won't say this is a miracle solution - you still need to work! But if you want to get started with home workouts (what is stopping you?) this is a great place to start. Plus it's free except for some bonus options for those who want to upgrade.
2. Don't Smoke.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of stroke or heart attack by a considerable amount. If you are a smoker, we know quitting smoking is not easy. However, if your doctor tells you or your screening comes back showing you are at risk, you will need to quit.
3. Keep a healthy diet.
Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil, and lean protein like fish and chicken, can't be beat for preventing heart attacks and strokes. Cinnamon helps the heart in several ways as well. Cardiologists also say a moderate version of the Keto Diet can be helpful but should not be followed too strictly for the purposes of reducing heart disease. The key is to focus on cutting out processed carbohydrates.
4. Wear a smartwatch.
Smartwatches these days come loaded with sensors that can track the health of your heart. We wrote an article on the best fitness and health tracking smartwatches which you can find here.
Follow this guidance and you can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. However everyone's risk factor varies so it is important you get checked first to find out where to focus.
Reference: Ahmed AAA, Al-Shami AM, Jamshed S, Fata Nahas AR. Development of questionnaire on awareness and action towards symptoms and risk factors of heart attack and stroke among a Malaysian population. BMC Public Health. 2019;19(1):1300. Published 2019 Oct 16. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-7596-1