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10 easy ways to cut your stroke risk

You've probably heard all kinds of helpful advice on how to reduce your risk of a stroke. At this point, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things you need to do.

But don't despair! You can reduce your risk of stroke if you take things one step at a time. Here are 10 easy ways to get started (consult with your doctor to decide on the best way for you to reduce your risk of stroke):*

  1. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your stroke risk. Ask your doctor to tell you the things that put you at risk of stroke (stroke risk factors). Knowing your risk factors can help you develop a plan to reduce your risk.
  2. Take a small bite out of healthy eating. This week, buy whole-grain bread instead of white. In the coming weeks, try to add more vegetables and fruits to your plate, and limit sweetened drinks and processed meats.
  3. Make a move to get active. Being physically active is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Adults aged 18 to 64 years should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking, bike riding) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (e.g., jogging, cross-country skiing) each week. If you're not active now, you can get started by simply sitting less and walking more. If you're already active, consider increasing the amount and intensity of your activity gradually over time for more benefits.
  4. Know your healthy weight. To reach or maintain a healthy weight, you need to know what to aim for. Use the body mass index (BMI) calculator to find your BMI. Write it down, along with your BMI goal (you can discuss a goal with your doctor). Keep it somewhere you can see it, such as on the fridge.
  5. Take a look at your alcohol use: For the next couple of weeks, keep track of how many drinks you have each day. It may be time to cut back if you're having more than 2 drinks a week or if you're having more than 2 drinks per occasion.
  6. Look through the smokescreen: People who smoke have more than twice the risk of stroke. Second-hand smoke increases your risk too. If you smoke, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about quitting. If you don't smoke, think about places where you are exposed to second-hand smoke and how to avoid them.
  7. Find a happy place: Stress can hike your stroke risk. Think about the number one reason for stress in your life and brainstorm at least one way to deal with it.
  8. Give yourself a 5-minute "check-up": Some medical conditions can increase your stroke risk. These may include:
    • atrial fibrillation
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • high cholesterol
    • a history of stroke or TIA ("mini-stroke")

    If you have these medical conditions (or have not recently been tested for them), talk to your doctor about how this may affect your stroke risk and what you can do. Please note that the list above does not include all possible medical conditions that may increase the risk of stroke; ask your doctor for more information.

  9. Check for medication concerns: If you're taking medications to help control your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, make sure that you're taking all your medications as directed by your doctor. Always speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your medication concerns.
  10. Shake your family tree: Find out if any of your close relatives (parents, siblings, or children) have had a stroke – especially before age 65. If so, tell your doctor so that they may accurately assess your stroke risk.

*Please note that these suggestions are intended to help reduce the risk of a stroke but are not guaranteed to prevent a stroke.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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