Stroke Prevention Day took place on Thursday 14 January 2021. Our aim was to help people understand their risk of stroke, and help reduce their risk, by pledging to make one small change over three months.
Many of our regular behaviours such as smoking, drinking alcohol or being physically inactive, along with having high blood pressure, diabetes, or being an unhealthy weight, can increase your risk of stroke. It’s important to be aware of your risk of stroke so that you can act now to manage or reduce it.
In January, more than 300 people pledged to make one small change to their diet or lifestyle. View the top-line findings from the campaign.
What can I do to reduce my stroke risk?
Stroke Prevention Day may be over, but there are still lots of things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.
This may be swapping an alcoholic drink for a soft one, getting up and moving regularly during the day, changing up your diet to include less salt or more fruit and veg, stopping smoking, or even joining an online exercise or activity group.
We recognise that making a change to your lifestyle isn't always easy, and will be different for everyone. Pick something that’s straightforward and manageable for you. If you’re able to stick with it for three months, you’re more likely to form a regular habit.
You could consider one of the actions below, or choose one of your own that may be more relevant and achievable for you. Find out more about the risk factors for stroke and how to reduce them.
Get help to stop smoking
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. But we recognise that this can be hard to do. Pledge to make one small change to your smoking habits. This could be making and sticking to those appointments with a smoking cessation service, which can support you to reach your goal to quit smoking during your three-month pledge.
Think about your relationship with alcohol
Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol but we know drinking too much can increase stroke risk. Pledge to make one small change to your drinking habits. This may be swapping an evening or weekend glass of wine or beer for water or a soft drink, or even doing something like dry January, but for a full three months.
Being more active and less sedentary can reduce your risk of stroke. Being active isn’t just about hitting the gym, but finding ways to get moving regularly. This is especially important as more of us are now working from home or have other restrictions because of COVID-19. Pledge to make one small change to your activity levels. This may be doing a 10-minute walk every day or some chair-based exercise. Getting up and moving every few hours to reduce sedentary periods, doing 20 minutes of housework, joining an online exercise session or even training for one of our virtual fundraising events. The important thing is to find something you enjoy and get moving.
Address your high blood pressure or high cholesterol
High blood pressure or cholesterol can be very common, but we know they can both increase stroke risk. There are many things that can help to reduce high blood pressure and/or cholesterol. Pledge to make one small change to manage or reduce yours. This may be taking steps to be more active in the day, swapping fried foods like chips for steamed veg or using herbs for flavouring instead of salt. If you don’t know your blood pressure or cholesterol levels, your GP or local pharmacist can help you find out.
Enjoy healthier food
A diet high in fat, salt or sugars can increase your risk of developing a health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or even becoming an unhealthy weight, all of which can increase your risk of stroke. It can be difficult to make healthier food choices, and many of us have developed new eating habits during the lockdown and may find ourselves snacking more or ordering extra takeaways. Pledge to make one small change to your eating habits. This may be giving up your weekly takeaway and saving the money for something else, swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier ones like fruits, carrot sticks or nuts or try some healthy online recipes.
Manage your diabetes
Having diabetes can increase your risk of stroke. We know that managing your diabetes can sometimes be difficult. But it’s important to follow any treatment and healthy lifestyle advice you're given. Keeping your blood sugar levels (HbA1c) to your target range can help to manage or reduce your risk of stroke. Pledge to make one small change to manage your diabetes. This could be by having a healthier diet, stopping smoking and being more active.
Hear from people who've already made a change to their diet or lifestyle, and how it has helped them reduce their risk of stroke:
Share our messages and help prevent stroke
Help spread the word about stroke prevention and how to reduce the risk of stroke. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and share our posts using the hashtags #strokepreventionday and #onesmallchange.
If you would like to get in touch, you can email the team directly at email@example.com
*If you take some types of medication that affect potassium levels, LoSalt and other reduced-sodium salt alternatives may not be suitable for you. Check with your GP for advice.