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Small lifestyle changes could lower stroke risk

December 31, 2012

Strokes are one of the leading threats to healthy aging. The common cardiovascular event affects around 795,000 people each year, and is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Yet despite its prevalence, there are a number of easy lifestyle changes seniors can make that can significantly lower their risk of suffering a stroke, according to The Huffington Post.

Experts estimate that around 50 percent of strokes could be prevented, and given that many heart-friendly activities are easy to implement, that's not too hard to believe. Many of stroke-prevention techniques include tweaking one's diet, and recent studies say eating more potassium may be one of the best methods available. In fact, research from 2011 found that potassium can help regulate blood pressure and may actually help counteract the negative effects of sodium.

Most people recognize bananas as a good source of potassium, but there are other foods that contain high levels of the nutrient as well. Vegetables such as squash, potatoes and tomatoes all contain potassium, as do kidney beans, yogurt and low-fat milk.

Along with adding potassium to one's diet, other healthy lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of stroke as well. For instance, regular exercise is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, and can also help them maintain their blood pressure, lower their obesity risk and reduce their chances of diabetes - all of which are associated with stroke, notes The Huffington Post.

Exercise and diet are important to be sure, but experts also point out that certain medications can raise blood pressure, so it's important for seniors to talk to their doctors as well.