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A Master Plan to Reduce Strokes

A Master Plan to Reduce Strokes

When 2015 Master’s champion, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, came to Augusta National’s 10th hole this year, he held a five-shot lead after four straight birdies. But that was before Amen Corner. He then lost six strokes—four of them to a quadruple bogey 7 on number 12!

That colossal, stroke-accumulating meltdown was bad enough—but it was nothing compared to the ever-increasing number of ischemic strokes (caused by an obstruction in blood vessels supplying the brain) that are affecting ever-younger folks. A Rutgers University study found that in the U.S., people between ages 42 to 51, have a 43 percent higher rate of stroke than those ages 62 to 71. Furthermore, stroke rates have more than doubled in people 35 to 39 and doubled in those 40 to 44, but declined in folks 55 and older!

It’s hard to know exactly what accounts for the trends, but it’s clear that adopting lifestyle habits that keep the cardiovascular system healthy is necessary. So kiss trans and most sat fats and added sugars or syrups goodbye. Eat only 100 percent whole grains. Avoid tobacco, marijuana and hookah parlors like the plague! And know your BP and keep it below 120/80—with or without meds. Also:

  • Make sure you walk 10,000 steps daily or get the equivalent physical activity and sleep 7 to 8 hours nightly.
  • Achieve a healthy weight—and stay there! Obesity can spike already-elevated blood pressure, and that’s a major trigger of stroke.

Medically reviewed in January 2019. Updated in August 2019.

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