Reducing the risk of Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)

Some simple changes in lifestyle can reduce your risk of stroke:

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Healthy Eating (nutrition), as your doctor, tells you.

What to try to do:

Each day, try to eat:

  • 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 6-8 grain portions (at least half the whole grains)
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products
  • 2 to 3 servings of lean meat or another protein intake (such as tofu)
  • Do not eat too much sodium.


less than 50 years: 1500 mg/day
between 50 and 70 years: 1300 mg / day
over 70: 1 200 mg / day

How to get there:

  • Buy whole grain bread instead of white bread.
  • Add berries to your cereal in the morning, raw carrots to your dinner or salad to your dinner.
  • When you are thirsty, drink water instead of juice or soda.
  • Eat healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables pre-cut and bagged salad.
  • Cook a large amount of healthy food on weekends and freeze individual portions for the week.
  • Consult your physician before making changes to your diet.
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Exercise as recommended by your doctor

What to try to do:

Ask your doctor about the level of activity and the type of exercise that are safe for you.

How to get there:

Consult your doctor before starting to exercise.

If your doctor gives you the approval to exercise, start slowly (even 10 minutes of activity sufficient to start). Increase your activity towards longer exercise time:

  • Today, after supper, wear comfortable shoes and walk around the neighbourhood on foot.
  • Park your car away from work or shopping.
  • Do more gardening and physical chores (such as vacuuming).
  • If you have medical conditions, consult your doctor before starting to exercise.
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Achieve a healthy weight recommended by your doctor

What to try to do:


  • BMI (Body Mass Index) between 18.5 and 24.9 kg / m ( calculate your BMI )
  • a waist circumference of less than 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women and less than 94 cm (37 inches) for men.
    How to get there:
  • Try to eat healthily and exercise (see above) to lose weight safely.
    Consult your physician before making changes to your physical activity or your diet.
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Drink alcohol in moderation, such as your doctor has recommended

What to try to do:

Limit yourself to two drinks per day, to a maximum of 10 drinks per week for women, and no more than 3 drinks per day, to a maximum of 15 drinks per week for men.

(If you have liver disease, consult your doctor for the maximum recommended dose of alcohol.)

How to get there:

  • Count the number of alcoholic beverages you drink a week to see if you exceed the limit.
    • A drink is:
      • 341 mL (12 oz) of beer;
      • 142 ml (5 ounces) of wine;
      • 43 mL (1.5 ounces) of spirits.
  • Reduce your intake if you exceed the limit. If you can not, talk to your doctor.
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Stop smoking as recommended by your doctor

What to try to do:

Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. If you are a non-smoker, do not start smoking.

How to get there:

When you’re ready to quit, ask friends and family to help and talk to your doctor or pharmacist options that would help you to stop.

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Manage your stress as your doctor has recommended

What to try to do:

Understand and control the sources of stress in your life.

How to get there:

  • Make a list of things that stress you.
  • Focus on the things that stress you out the most and think about ways to prevent or manage them. Try to exercise (which reduces stress), talk to a friend, to pause, to use humor to delegate to others or just to say “no.”
    Consult your doctor for help with stress management.
  • These lifestyle suggestions may not be suitable for everyone. Consult your doctor about lifestyle changes that you need to take to reduce your risk of stroke.

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