Reduce Your Risk
High blood pressure, atherosclerosis (fatty buildups in the arteries), and atrial fibrillation (which may cause blood clots in the heart that can travel to the brain) are all conditions that can contribute to a stroke. That’s why the National Stroke Association recommends the following guidelines to help prevent strokes:
- Know your blood pressure. If you’re blood pressure is high, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Have your blood pressure checked at least once per year or more often if you have high blood pressure.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (AF). Your doctor can detect AF by carefully checking your pulse. If you have it, work with your doctor to help manage it.
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles the risk of stroke.
- If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation. There is some evidence that having one drink per day may lower your risk for stroke if there are no other medical reasons why you shouldn’t drink. Remember that alcohol is a drug and can interact with other drugs you’re taking in harmful ways. If you don’t drink, don’t start.
- Know your cholesterol number. If it’s high, work with your doctor to lower it. Often, high cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise. Some people may require medication, too.
- If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to control it. Your doctor can work with you on the best diet, lifestyle, and medicines to help manage your diabetes.
- Exercise. Include exercises you enjoy in your daily routine. As little as 30 minutes of brisk exercise a day can help reduce your risk of stroke.
- Enjoy a low-salt, low-fat diet. A low-salt, low-fat diet can help reduce your blood pressure and risk of stroke.
- Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems.If you do, work with your doctor to control them.