You can help prevent a stroke if you control risk factors and treat other medical conditions that can lead to a stroke. You can help prevent a TIA or stroke by taking steps toward a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Know your stroke risk
Your doctor can help you know your risk. These are some of the common risk factors for stroke:
- You have atrial fibrillation.
- You smoke.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have high cholesterol.
- 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.
- 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 drinks 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.
- Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate exercise. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week.
- 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.