Women and Stroke Risk Reduction
Stroke Risk Reduction
80 percent of strokes are preventable. Talk to your physician to identify your stroke risk factors. The National Stroke Association recommends the following guidelines to reduce your risk of stroke.
- Know your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. If you have high blood pressure, work with your physician to keep it under control. Have your blood pressure checked at least once each year; check it more frequently if you have a history of high blood pressure.
- Find out if you have atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to collect in the chambers of your heart. This blood can form clots and cause a stroke. If you have atrial fibrillation, work with your physician to manage it.
- Smoking doubles the risk for stroke: If you stop smoking today, your risk of stroke will decrease.
- Alcohol use: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Find out if you have high cholesterol: If your cholesterol is high, work with your physician to control it. High cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise; some individuals may require medication.
- Control your diabetes: Follow your physician’s recommendations carefully. Your physician can prescribe a nutrition program, lifestyle changes and medicine that can help control your diabetes.
- Include exercise in your daily routine: A brisk walk, swim or other exercise activity for as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your health in many ways and may reduce your risk for stroke.
- Enjoy a lower-sodium, lower-fat diet: By reducing sodium and fat in your diet, you may be able to lower your blood pressure and, most importantly, lower your risk for stroke.
- Ask your physician if you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD): Women with PAD (blockages in the arteries to your legs) have an increased risk of death and disability from heart attack and stroke. Have your physician check the blood flow to your legs.