You can help prevent stroke. These are the 6 most important steps you can take to lower your risk of stroke:
- Keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Keep your blood sugar (glucose) in the normal range.
- Stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
- If you have heart disease, treat it.
- Keep your cholesterol (“koh-LEHS-tuh-rahl”) levels in the normal range.
Making these healthy changes will also help lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Learn more about healthy living habits that can help prevent stroke:
Am I at risk for stroke?
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke.
High blood pressure has no signs or symptoms, so be sure to get your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 years. Ask your doctor if you need to get it checked more often.
Other risk factors for stroke include:
- Physical inactivity and obesity
- An irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation)
- High cholesterol
You are at greater risk for stroke as you grow older. You may also be more at risk for stroke if someone in your family has had one. Make sure you know your family’s medical history and share it with your doctor.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack.” A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Stroke is a leading cause of death in adults. It’s also a common cause of long-term disability in adults.
What are the effects of stroke?
Stroke can affect the whole body. A stroke can cause problems with:
- Thinking and speaking
- Moving your muscles (paralysis)
How do I know if I’m having a stroke?
A stroke happens suddenly, usually with little warning. Signs of a stroke include:
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 right away if you or someone you are with has signs of stroke. The chances of survival and recovery from a stroke are better if you get emergency treatment immediately.
What’s the difference between a stroke and a TIA?
A stroke causes brain damage, and a TIA doesn’t.
TIA stands for transient ischemic (“is-KEM-ik”) attack. A TIA is when blood flow to the brain is blocked for a short period of time and there isn’t any damage to the brain. After you’ve had a TIA, you are at greater risk for a stroke.
The signs of a TIA are the same as the signs of a regular stroke, but they don’t last as long. Never ignore a TIA. Call 911 right away if you or someone you are with has signs of stroke.