You can help prevent stroke by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you might have.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Various foods

Eat a healthy diet: Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid stroke and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet can also lower your blood pressure. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for stroke. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, use the body mass index (BMI) calculator.

Be active: Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Woman breaking cigarette in half

Don't smoke: Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for stroke. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

Alcohol: Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure.

Prevent or Treat Your Medical Conditions

If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of a stroke:

Have your cholesterol checked: Your healthcare provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years. Talk with your doctor about this simple blood test.

Monitor your blood pressure: High blood pressure has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.

Manage your diabetes: If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your healthcare provider about treatment options.

Take your medicine: If you're taking medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don't understand something.

Talk with your healthcare provider: You and your doctor can work together to prevent or treat the medical conditions that lead to heart disease. Discuss your treatment plan regularly and bring a list of questions to your appointments.

For more information about stroke risks and prevention, please call 304.526.6317.

Sources: www.nih.gov and www.cdc.gov