Stroke can happen to anyone, however, certain risk factors can increase the chances of a stroke. In fact, studies show that up to 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented by working with a health care professional to reduce your personal risk.
- Know your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. Work with your doctor to keep it under control.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation: This abnormal heartbeat, Afib, can increase stroke risk by 500 percent. Your doctor can detect Afib and work with you to manage it.
- If you smoke, stop: Smoking doubles your risk of stroke.
- If you drink alcohol, practice moderation.
- Know your cholesterol levels: High cholesterol can increase risk of heart disease, which may lead to stroke. Talk with your doctor.
- Control diabetes: Diabetics can develop health problems that contribute to stroke risk.
- Manage your diet and exercise: Excess weight strains the circulation system, which can increase the risk of stroke.
- Treat circulation problems: Fatty deposits can block arteries. Sickle cell disease, severe anemia and other diseases can cause stroke if left untreated.
- Recognize and treat Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs): These temporary stroke-like symptoms often precede an actual stroke.