Exercise, balanced diet & keeping tab on BP can help prevent stroke in winters, advises Dr Vivek Gupta


Exercise, balanced diet & keeping tab on BP can help prevent stroke in winters, advises Dr Vivek Gupta

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and long-term disability in the world. A surge in stroke cases during the winter months points towards a potentially dangerous link between the cold weather and cardiovascular health.

 Dr Vivek Gupta, Additional Director, Interventional Neuro-radiology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, through an advisory sheds light on how to safeguard oneself from stroke in winter.

 ·       What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood circulation to a part of the brain stops. Brain cells can die from decreased blood flow and due to the resulting lack of oxygen. Stroke is of two types – Haemorrhagic (bleeding in brain) and Ischemic (clot in brain’s blood vessel).

·       Risk factors
Discussing the factors associated with stroke, Dr Gupta, added, “While strokes can occur at any time, the winter season seems to exacerbate certain risk factors. This is because the freezing temperatures constrict blood vessels and this increases blood pressure, thus posing a risk for a stroke. Limited outdoor activity and decreased exposure to sunlight can also contribute to vitamin D deficiency, another factor linked to cardiovascular issues.”

·       Causes
Stating that studies had shown a consistent rise in hospital admissions for stroke-related cases during winter, Dr Gupta, added, “Intertwining lifestyle changes, physiological responses to cold, and the impact of seasonal infections on one’s overall health. It’s crucial to recognize these trends to proactively address and mitigate the risks associated with winter strokes. Diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol level and heart diseases also increased the risk for a stroke.”

·       Prevention is better than cure:
Dr Gupta
 said it was important to sensitize people on ways to prevent stroke during the cold weather. “Regular exercise or adequate physical activity helps maintain good cardiovascular health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can combat the winter blues and fortify the body against potential health threats. Abstinence from smoking and limiting alcohol, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, keeping a tab on cholesterol and blood pressure can go a long way in preventing strokes,” he added.

·       Winter wellness strategies
Advising on adopting a holistic approach, Dr Gupta, said, “Ensure to stay hydrated, keep warm, and prioritize consumption of heart-healthy foods. Always monitor your blood pressure and stay connected with healthcare providers for regular check-ups. By adopting these strategies, individuals can fortify themselves against the seasonal spike in stroke cases.”


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