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Stroke (cont.)

Prevention

You can help prevent a stroke if you control risk factors and treat other medical conditions that can lead to a stroke.

Know your stroke risk

These are some of the common risk factors for stroke:

  • You smoke.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • Your cholesterol level is higher than average.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You are overweight.
  • You do not exercise on a regular basis.
  • You drink large amounts of alcohol.

Treat any health problems you have

  • Manage high blood pressure or high cholesterol by working with your doctor.
  • Manage diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels within a target range.
  • If your doctor recommends that you take aspirin or a blood thinner, take it. This can help prevent a stroke.
  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

  • Don't smoke or allow others to smoke around you. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Limit alcohol to 2 drinksClick here to see an illustration. a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight makes it more likely you will develop high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes. These conditions make a stroke more likely.
  • Do activities that raise your heart rate. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, and foods that are low in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Eat fish at least 2 times each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.
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