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Stroke Prevention Tips: How to Avoid High Cholesterol

by | Sep 1, 2023

Controllable risk factors are lifestyle choices that can be changed to reduce the risk of having a stroke. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and managing your high cholesterol are some common lifestyle choices that can be made to significantly reduce your chance of having a stroke

happy senior woman eating healthy green apple

Introduction to High Cholesterol

In order to learn more about how to avoid high cholesterol, there are a few crucial areas of discussion that have to be covered. If you would like to find out everything that you need to know when it comes to stroke and high cholesterol, the following guide is here to help out. Be sure to read on, so that you are able to educate yourself on all matters cholesterol-related and how to avoid an unwanted spike.

What is High Cholesterol?

Contrary to popular belief, all cholesterol is not inherently bad. The body needs it to make vitamins and build cells. However, too much cholesterol is always going to pose a major problem. There are two different sources of cholesterol that everyone needs to be aware of. There is blood cholesterol, which comes from the liver and handles the aforementioned functions.

Cholesterol can also be divided into two additional categories. There is low-density cholesterol, which is another way to refer to the “bad” cholesterol. High-density cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol. Even lower levels of high-density cholesterol could contribute to heart disease and other medical problems, especially if low-density cholesterol levels have risen too high.

All of the necessary cholesterol is produced during the aforementioned processes. Dietary cholesterol is the second type and this is where serious issues can be caused if it is allowed to spike too high. Cholesterol levels are considered normal at less than 200 mg/dL. 200 to 239 mg/dl is considered to be a borderline high level. Once the patient is at or over 240 mg/dL, their cholesterol level is officially too high.

High blood cholesterol is caused by a number of different factors. Smoking, unhealthy dietary choices and a lack of exercise are all major contributors. Underlying conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, are also to blame in many instances. Obesity is a risk factor, as well as age and regular overconsumption of alcohol.

Cholesterol and Stroke

If high cholesterol is allowed to persist, the patient could be placing themselves at increased risk of a stroke. As mentioned, the vast majority of the cholesterol that the body needs is produced in the liver. That’s why we must be mindful of the cholesterol that is consumed in our daily diet. If the diet is too high in saturated fats, the manner in which the liver processes cholesterol will change. Once excess cholesterol enters your bloodstream, fatty deposits will build up.

Read our “Stroke Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment: A Complete Guide” blog post to stay informed about the types of stroke, symptoms, screening, diagnosis, treatment options, stroke management, and more. 

Cholesterol as a Risk of Stroke

These build-ups take place within the arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen. This is a process that is known as atherosclerosis. Once the walls of the arteries are damaged, clots can begin to form. As soon as a clot travels to the brain, strokes are caused. While you do not need to avoid eating all foods that contain cholesterol, we should always be looking to reduce the amount of fat that we consume.

Increased Risk with High Cholesterol

There is no shortage of diseases that are linked to high cholesterol. For starters, those who have high cholesterol are already at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This includes coronary heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease, in addition to the aforementioned strokes. Diabetes and high blood pressure are also caused by high cholesterol.

If coronary heart disease begins to take place, this places the patient at increased risk of a heart attack. Once the arteries have hardened, blood flow is restricted and this exacerbates the issues. The heart and brain are at risk due to the impeded blood flow. Peripheral vascular disease refers to the other areas of the brain, including the legs. Diabetics should also remain careful, as they are more susceptible to having low-density cholesterol particles stick to their arteries.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are linked as well. High cholesterol has been known to trigger inflammation, while certain hormones are released that are going to cause the blood vessels to become tighter. This process is known as “endothelial dysfunction.” Blood pressure rises significantly because the heart is forced to work much harder than ever before so that blood is able to be pumped through the difficulties.      

Ways to Reduce Your Cholesterol to Prevent Stroke

In order to prevent a stroke, the patient must be willing to take the proper steps to reduce cholesterol. It all starts by being willing to take recommendations from a certified and trusted physician. They can take a closer look at the patient and offer up a specialized treatment plan that is designed to assist them individually. From there, it is all about making quality lifestyle choices.

Fresh fruits and veggies are a great place to start. By eating healthy, you are ensuring that saturated fats and trans fats do not have the chance to build up. Salt should also be limited, to keep sodium levels low. Remaining at a healthy weight is crucial as well. A doctor can let you know if your weight is at a healthy level for your body type.

Regular physical activity is a great way to lower cholesterol levels. Adults should make time for at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobics per week, while kids and teens should be getting an hour per day. Smoking should be stopped and alcohol consumption must be limited. If the patient has any other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, they should be taking the right steps to get them under control. Working closely with a healthcare team is pivotal in these instances.

There are excellent medication available. Medical management can reduce cholesterol and risk of stroke. Some of these medication can be taken orally and some injectables are also available that are used every few months. 

 

Stroke and Brain Health

Keeping your brain healthy and mind sharp can help prevent neurological disorders and improve cognitive functioning, emotional well-being, and quality of life. As we age, it’s time to start making healthier lifestyle choices.

Helpful Questions to Ask Your Stroke Doctor Regarding High Cholesterol

Whether you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol or you are looking to remain proactive, the following questions are of the utmost importance:

Are My Cholesterol Levels Too High?

Each patient should be asking this question, regardless of where their personal number lies. There are rules of thumb that can be followed but a doctor should always be asked about the specific issues that pertain to each patient.

Will Medication Be Necessary?

Sometimes, lifestyle changes are not enough and medication will be required as a result. How long will medication be needed for? Are there any side effects that the patient needs to be aware of? Supplements and vitamins may be suggested that can help to improve the impact of the medication as well.

How Often Do My Levels Need To Be Checked?

Once the patient has turned 21, they should be getting their levels checked every 5 years. If the individual has any risk factors, such as smoking, hereditary concerns, diabetes or obesity, they should be going more often than that.

Do I Have Any Additional Risk Factors?

In addition to the aforementioned risk factors, female patients must be aware of the drop in estrogen that occurs once menopause takes place. This may increase the risk of heightened cholesterol levels.

Did you know that women have a higher stroke risk due to a combination of biological, hormonal, and lifestyle factors? They interact to create a unique set of risk factors in comparison to men. Learn why women have a higher risk of stroke in our other article. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic Stroke Treatment in Singapore

High cholesterol is easy enough to avoid if all of the necessary precautions are taken. Dietary considerations must be made, as well as drinking and smoking habits. Patients must also take care to avoid living a more sedentary lifestyle. If a patient has any further questions regarding their cholesterol levels and is looking to find out more, be sure to contact us. We will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Stroke Prevention: Causes and Risk Factors

Whether it’s you or a loved one, strokes can be a devastating and serious medical condition to experience. Anyone is capable of having a stroke, but the chances increase if you have certain stroke risk factors, some which are preventable and some which are not.

Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore

Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. It’s important to find a stroke specialist or doctor you can trust in Singapore. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation. Arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our stroke specialist,

 

Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

Stroke Resources

Areas of the Brain Affected by Stroke

When a stroke occurs, normal functional areas of the brain can be affected or even damaged leading to motor and cognitive impairments. Rehabilitation becomes crucial through tailored therapies to help patients and find ways to cope. 

stroke patient doing rehabilitation exercise

We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

Brain Aneurysm Resources

Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.