from – healthfinder.gov
Experts think that up to 80% of strokes can be prevented. Some stroke risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age, family history, and ethnicity. But you can reduce your chances of having a stroke by taking these steps:
- Know your blood pressure. Your heart moves blood through your body. If it is hard for your heart to do this, your heart works harder, and your blood pressure will rise. People with high blood pressure often have no symptoms, so have your blood pressure checked every 1 to 2 years. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest you make some lifestyle changes, such as eating less salt (DASH Eating Plan) and exercising more. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine to help lower your blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. If you are having trouble quitting, there are products and programs that can help:
- Nicotine patches and gums
- Support groups
- Programs to help you stop smoking
Ask your doctor or nurse for help. For more information on quitting, visit Smoking and how to quit.
- Get tested for diabetes. People with diabetes have high blood glucose (often called blood sugar). People with high blood sugar often have no symptoms, so have your blood sugar checked regularly. Having diabetes raises your chances of having a stroke. If you have diabetes, your doctor will decide if you need diabetes pills or insulin shots. Your doctor can also help you make a healthy eating and exercise plan.
- Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of your body. When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol can clog your arteries and keep your brain from getting the blood it needs. This can cause a stroke. Triglycerides are a form of fat in your blood stream. High levels of triglycerides are linked to stroke in some people. People with high blood cholesterol or high blood triglycerides often have no symptoms, so have your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked regularly. If your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are high, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower them. You may be able to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by eating better and exercising more. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your risk for stroke. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight. Make healthy food choices and get plenty of exercise. Each week, aim for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Start by adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet. Take a brisk walk on your lunch break or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink (one 12 ounce beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor) a day.
- Find healthy ways to cope with stress. Lower your stress level by talking to your friends, exercising, or writing in a journal.