Turns out, there are various factors that you can control to help prevent a stroke. If you are a smoker, you might want to quit smoking since it is considered a risk factor. If you have high cholesterol levels, consider what steps you can take to control that. These among others are factors under each individual’s control, and for stroke prevention, that can be defining.

For the majority, personal choice largely determines whether a stroke is down the line. Guidelines on the prevention of stroke suggest that having a healthy lifestyle can cut the risk of experiencing a stroke by 80%. No medical intervention can come close to doing that.

When a stroke occurs, it seems sudden and unexpected. But the sudden occurrence stems from a long and steady development of stroke causes such as damaged blood vessels, the growth of artery-clogging plaque, or the development of atrial fibrillation. Read more in our article “What causes a stroke?” to learn more about predispositions for experiencing a stroke. Here we will cover preventative measures you can take to help avoid experiencing a stroke.

9 factors to consider for stroke prevention

Below we have listed the most common medical and lifestyle factors to take into consideration if you want to lower your risk of experiencing a stroke.

Controlling high blood pressure if you have one

This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of experiencing a stroke. If you’ve had a stroke, lowering your blood pressure can help prevent a subsequent TIA or stroke. High blood pressure can be treated effectively which you can discuss with your doctor.

Lower cholesterol levels if elevated

Since high cholesterol levels is one of the most powerful stroke causes, it is a paramount to keep it normal by diet and if necessary – medication. Speak to your doctor regarding specific measures to be taken if you have a high cholesterol.

Follow your glucose levels and treat diabetes if you have it

High glucose level is one of top stroke causes. In case blood glucose levels are raised, discuss the issue with your doctor and treat it seriously.

Blood thinning medications

These are often used in case of heart arrhythmia, or any problems to heart valves to prevent blood clots from forming in the heart or on valves. Please speak to your doctor about lowering the risk of stroke in case you have any condition described above.

Keep weight down and exercise

Your chances of a stroke go up if you’re overweight. You can lower your odds by staying physically active which helps reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Healthy diet

Diet that increases your risk of stroke is one that’s high in salt, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. To keep cholesterol levels in check avoid such foods and choose a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats instead.

Quit smoking

If you smoke, quitting now will lower your risk of experiencing a stroke. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke as well.

Consume alcohol in moderation

Heavy alcohol consumption increases your risk of high blood pressure, ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Alcohol may also interact with other drugs you’re taking.

Get regular checkups

Stay on top of your health. This means getting regular checkups (for cholesterol and blood pressure) and managing other health conditions you may have. Discuss medication options with your doctor if necessary and address any other health concerns you may have.

Prevention is possible, whether you’re preventing a first stroke or trying to prevent a second. Together with your doctor you can find a prevention strategy that works best for you, either with medical intervention, lifestyle changes or most likely with both combined.

Generally, the more risk factors you are exposed to, the higher your chance of getting a stroke. Therefore, it is very important that you take good care of your health and manage the factors that are in your hands to help you against experiencing a stroke.