Take Action to Avoid Stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 137,000 Americans every year and leaving hundreds of thousands more with long-term disabilities. It doesn't have to be that way; nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

National Jewish Health Cardiologist Andrew Freeman, MD, says there are several steps you can take to prevent a stroke, including: quitting smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, consuming less sodium, and keeping cholesterol numbers at normal levels. Controlling blood pressure is another important way to reduce your chances of having a stroke.

"One of the best things you can do to prevent a stroke is to keep your blood pressure under control," said Dr. Freeman. "Studies have shown that as little as a 20-point increase in your blood pressure can double your chance of stroke."

Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce your blood pressure and your risk of stroke.

"A half-hour a day walking may reduce your risk for stroke, and can improve your health in many ways," said Dr. Freeman. "The important thing is making some form of exercise a part of your daily routine. If you don't enjoy walking, try swimming, biking, golf or dance."

If you want to take that first step toward a regular exercise routine and learn more about controlling your blood pressure, join Dr. Freeman at the first National Jewish Health "Walk with a Doc" program. Dr. Freeman will lead a 10-minute discussion about controlling blood pressure, then lead an easy 1-mile walk while answering participants' health questions. The first Walk with a Doc will be Saturday, May 22 at 8 a.m. at Falcon Park in Highlands Ranch.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation.

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