Many strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your health care team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke. Help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices:
Choose healthy foods and drinks. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and drink water daily. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
Keep a healthy weight. Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for stroke.
Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the surgeon general recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure.
Check your cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, medicine and lifestyle changes can help lower your risk. Your doctor should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your health care team about this simple blood test.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a doctor’s office, or at a pharmacy. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might prescribe medicine, lifestyle or dietary changes.
Control diabetes. If your doctor thinks you have symptoms of diabetes, he or she may recommend that you get tested. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels regularly.
Treat heart disease. If you have certain heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease or atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), your health care team may recommend medical treatment or surgery.
Take your medicine(s). If you take medicine to treat heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your physician’s instructions carefully. Never stop taking your medicine without first talking to your physician or pharmacist.
Discuss your treatment plan regularly with your health care team as well as your loved ones. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. Keep everyone updated on your overall health and daily routines.