Stroke risk factors you can control:
- Blood pressure: Like cholesterol, high blood pressure can be reduced. Find out if your blood pressure is high. If it is, discuss ways to lower it with your doctor.
- Cholesterol: Family history may play a role, but diet, exercise and medication can bring your cholesterol under control.
- Exercise: Try to get 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- Diet: Adopt a heart-healthy diet, with low-fat and low-salt foods. A healthy diet and exercise can help control high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, and will make you feel better overall.
- Alcohol: Do not consume more than one alcoholic drink per day. One alcoholic drink equals 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of table wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
- Obesity and diabetes: Obesity and diabetes greatly increase your risk for stroke. For many, lifestyle changes can reverse both of these problems.
- Smoking: Stop smoking now. Ask your doctor for resources to help you quit.
It is important to work closely with your doctor to control your risk factors and understand the medications you take.
Other stroke risk factors:
- Your age and sex: As you grow older, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to increase and keeps increasing with age.
- Your family history: You have a greater risk of stroke if any of your close blood relatives have had a stroke.
- Your personal history: Previous transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or strokes put you at a higher risk of a future stroke.
Symptoms of a stroke:
If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of a TIA or a stroke, remember to act F.A.S.T.
Face: Ask the person to smile. If the face is droopy on one side, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts down or cannot be raised, call 9-1-1 immediately. Speech: Ask the person to say a simple phrase. If speech is slurred or they are having difficulty saying words, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Time: Call 9-1-1 immediately. With stroke, time lost is brain lost. Another common symptom of a stroke is the sudden onset of a severe headache.
Other stroke symptoms:
Sudden confusion, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking or loss of balance, sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Learn more stroke signs and symptoms
Download a Stroke Risk Scorecard