There are many stroke risk factors that you can control:
- being overweight (use the body mass index [BMI] calculator to see if you are overweight)
- eating an unhealthy diet (low in fruits and vegetables and high in fat and sodium)
- not getting enough exercise (this applies only to people whose doctor has given them approval to exercise. For these people, current guidelines recommend 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on 4 to 7 days of the week. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or becoming more physically active)
- drinking too much alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day or 10 drinks per week for women or more than 3 drinks per day or 15 drinks per week for men)
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you reduce your stroke risk.
- atrial fibrillation: causes an abnormal heartbeat, which makes blood pool and clot in the heart. These clots can move to the brain and cause a stroke.Learn more about atrial fibrillation and stroke risk reduction.
- diabetes: increases the risk of high blood pressure and damages the blood vessels, both of which can cause a stroke. Learn more about diabetes and stroke risk reduction.
- high blood pressure: damages blood vessels so they are more likely to clog up or burst, leading to a stroke. Learn more about high blood pressure and stroke risk reduction.
- high cholesterol: causes fatty deposits to build up in your blood vessels, which could block blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke. Learn more about high cholesterol and stroke risk reduction.
Getting these medical conditions under control can go a long way toward reducing the risk of a stroke.
Some people may have other risk factors for stroke. Talk to your doctor to find out if you're at risk of a stroke, and what you can do to reduce your risk.
To find out your risk of a stroke in the next 10 years, use the stroke risk assessment calculator.