Risks of Stroke

Understanding the risk factors involved with stroke – and how to address them – can help you increase your chances of staying healthy. Some of the risk factors, such as age, race, gender and family history, are beyond your control. But many ways exist to improve your chances of avoiding stroke.

People who have had a stroke have an increased risk of another stroke, especially during the first year after the original stroke. That’s why it’s important for stroke survivors to follow their medical team’s suggestions about diet, exercise and weight loss, and to take prescribed medicine as directed.

Preventive Measures

Everyone should follow these recommendations:

  • Get screened for high blood pressure at least every two years (annual screening is recommended for those with a family history of high blood pressure)
  • Have your cholesterol checked regularly (if you are at high risk, your LDL “bad” cholesterol should be lower than 100mg/dL)
  • If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and/or heart disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations
  • Follow a low-fat, low-salt diet
  • Do not smoke
  • Exercise regularly—30 minutes at least five days a week if you are not overweight; 60-90 minutes a day if you are overweight.
  • Limit yourself to no more than two alcoholic drinks a day