There are two types of risk factors: those that are under your control, and those that are simply part of you and not under your control.
You can manage these risk factors to lower your risk factors to lower your risk of having a stroke:
- Inactivity and obesity: Increase cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise as your body can tolerate and directed by your doctor.
- Smoking: Stop smoking.
- Alcohol: In moderation only.
- Nutrition: Healthy eating habits include eating LESS fast food and fried foods. Eat LESS saturated fat, sugar and salt in your daily meals. Eat MORE baked, boiled, grilled or roasted foods.
- Cholesterol: Strive to maintain your LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, level below 70 through diet and exercise. If you have been prescribed cholesterol lowering medication, be sure to take it following your doctor’s advice.
- Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1C should be lower than 6. Good blood sugar control should be maintained as directed by your doctor. It’s important to take your blood sugar medication as prescribed and keep all your doctor appointments.
- Blood pressure: Keep it under 130/80. Follow-up with your doctor on blood pressure goals. If you have been prescribed blood pressure medication, take it following your doctor’s advice. If your blood pressure is too high or too low, call your doctor.
- Heart: If you have irregular heart beat known as atrial fibrillation, take your blood thinner medication as prescribed and follow-up with any necessary lab appointments as directed.
Stroke risk factors that are not under your control:
- Prior stroke or heart attack
- Age – the older you are, the higher the risk
- Family history of stroke
- Ethnicity – higher risk among African American and Asians
“Everyone should talk to their doctor to learn about their risks and what actions they can take to prevent a stroke,” said Shao-Pow Lin MD, neurointerventional radiologist with PIH Health. You can also visit our website, PIHHealth.org/Classes to find various education classes that are available to help you reach your health goals.