Stroke Prevention 3

Hi everyone

We are still on life style modifications that reduce your risk of having stroke. Today we will be discussing Alcohol and Smoking.
You are Welcome

Alcohol and smoking are dangerous to your health; most organs are affected. Furthermore, the deleterious effects of Alcohol are worse in the women. Alcohol should be limited to about 3 bottles of beer( commonest Alcohol in Nigeria) /week for men or 2 bottles /week for women. Smoking should be stopped totally.

Recommended steps to reduction of Alcohol intake include the following:

1. Make a decision on your own
The decision to reduce or abstain from Alcohol (and quit smoking) needs to be your personal decision. It is helpful to have a review of your life and see all the numerous benefits you will derive. The first and most important is ‘A Healthier You’. You will be healthier in all aspects. Some of these include lower blood pressure, better sleep, better concentration, weight control, improved fertility…… The list goes on and on and on. In addition you will have better relationships with your family, wife, siblings, friends, colleagues and all. More so, you will save some money also. Most persons who drink Alcohol (in bars) are generally duped by the bar owners. These reasons will motivate you to work on it. It will not be easy but it can be done.

2. Never drink on an empty stomach
You will notice that persons who are dependent on Alcohol barely eat. This is because Alcohol has some calories that give a filling effect to such persons. It is always better to take Alcohol after eating. In this manner, the person gets some of the needed calories from the meal and is less dependent on Alcohol for the calories. It is also wise to drink slowly instead of gulping down your drinks. You are more likely to drink less when you drink slowly. Another scheme is to drink water or juice in addition.

3. Avoid peer pressure
People that drink generally overdo it in the presence of others who are also drinking. It is not very easy to be a teetotaler among persons who drink. There is a lot of pressure to at least taste the drink. It is therefore wise to avoid your ‘Drinking buddies’ and situations that will entice you to drink like parties. If you cannot avoid such situations, then learn to say’ NO’ politely. Do not feel obliged to accept a drink. Some advocate that you should not have Alcohol in your house since it will take a lot of discipline to avoid drinking.

4. Get support
Tell your family, friends and well wishers about your plan to stop or reduce Alcohol intake. You need their support, love and encouragement. Give an account of yourself to your loved ones as they help you to stop. It is wise to keep a diary to monitor your progress. In addition, a diary may expose the conditions or situations that made you to drink. Some countries have support groups like Alcohol anonymous which helps tremendously.

5. Keep busy
Ensure that you do not have free periods that encourage you to drink. Take your job seriously and develop new healthy hobbies and habits. Habits that involve physical exercise like walking, gardening, participating in sports, laundry, washing your car are encouraged. Other hobbies include reading or even taking extra classes, courses, writing a blog, learning a new Language or how to play a musical instrument. These hobbies help to occupy the extra time.

6. Healthier ways to cope with stress
A lot of people take to drinking, smoking or use of other substances because of stress. There are healthier ways to cope with stress. We will discuss Stress and Stress management next week.

The steps mentioned above also apply to quitting Cigarette smoking( including piping, snuff, ETC). In addition to these, remove all the smoking reminders like cigarettes, ash trays, lighters, pipes ETC. It is also wise to have substitutes (chewing gum, candy, carrots, fruits, nuts ETC) to use when the craving comes. There are also Nicotine substitutes which can be used; discuss this with your Doctor.

Painfully, passive smokers( those that inhale from other smokers) are also at risk of developing these diseases. Hence the passive smoker should support the spouse, fried, sibling or colleague to quit smoking. There will be health benefits for both of them.

Thanks for reading

Published by berthaekeh

Medical Doctor/ Teacher/Author

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