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What Happens During a Stroke?

Stroke Prevention: Managing Controllable Risk Factors

Stroke Prevention: Managing Controllable Risk Factors

While there are risk factors for stroke you can’t control, there are important steps you can take now to significantly reduce your risk of stroke or recurrent stroke.

  • Monitor Your Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened, and what you can do to keep your blood pressure in check (dietary, exercise and other lifestyle changes).
  • Stop smoking. Smoking doubles your stroke risk by damaging blood vessel walls, contributing to clogged arteries and raising your blood pressure.
  • Care for other health conditions. High cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis all increase your risk for stroke. Know your risk factors for these health conditions, and talk to your doctor about managing these conditions—and then follow your treatment plans as directed.
  • Monitor Alcohol Use. Many studies link alcohol to increased stroke risk. Stick to one drink a day for women and two for men, according to the USDA recommendation.
  • Manage Your Weight. Obesity puts you at risk for many of the conditions that raise your stroke risk, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  

By Jenilee Matz, MPH. Published December 7, 2012. Jenilee Matz, MPH is a medical writer, health educator, and triathlete based in Charlotte, NC.