Simple lifestyle changes can help control your risk.
Check with your doctor about an exercise program. Try to exercise with a partner to help you stick to your program. Be sure to make time every day to exercise.
Control your blood pressure
High blood pressure is the greatest risk factor for stroke. Normal adult blood pressure is less than 140/90. If your blood pressure is higher than this, work with your doctor to lower it. If your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to take it as prescribed and don't stop taking it.
Eating well can also help control your blood pressure. Eat less salt and fat, and eat a balanced diet heavy in fruits, vegetables and whole grains with a little lean protein every day.
Find out if you have AF
People with atrial fibrillation (AF) have a much higher risk for stroke and should be receiving medical treatment.
Find out if you have circulation problems
Stroke can be caused by problems with your heart, arteries and veins, or the blood that flows through them. Your doctor can check for problems with the circulation that supplies blood to your brain.
Fatty deposits, caused by atherosclerosis, can block the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your brain. These arteries, located on the side of your neck, are called carotid arteries. Blockage here can cause stroke. Your doctor can test for this problem.
If you have blood problems such as sickle cell disease, severe anemia, or other diseases, work with your doctor to manage these conditions. Circulation problems can be treated with medication. If your doctor prescribes medication, take it exactly as prescribed.
Find out if you have high cholesterol
Know your cholesterol number. If your cholesterol is high, you may have an increases stroke risk. Lowering your cholesterol may reduce your risk.
Smoking doubles your risk for stroke. If you stop smoking today, your risk will begin to decrease. If you're ready to quit, check out our tobacco cessation resources. If you stop, within five years your stroke risk may the the same as that of someone who has never smoked.
Drink in moderation
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. It's important to limit your consumption to no more than two drinks a day. Heavy drinking has been associated with stroke.