Behaviors That Increase Risk for Stroke
Diets high in saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol have been linked to stroke. Find healthy recipes and meal plans at the Million Hearts® Heart-Healthy Recipes page.
Your lifestyle choices can affect your chances of having a stroke. To lower your risk, your doctor may suggest changes to your lifestyle.
The good news is that healthy behaviors can lower your risk for stroke.
Diets high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol have been linked to stroke and related conditions, such as heart disease. Also, getting too much salt (sodium) in the diet can raise blood pressure levels.
Not getting enough physical activity can lead to other health conditions that can raise the risk for stroke. These health conditions include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your chances for stroke.
Obesity is excess body fat. Obesity is linked to higher “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower “good” cholesterol levels. Obesity can also lead to high blood pressure and diabetes.
Too Much Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for stroke. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a form of fat in your blood that can harden your arteries.
- Women should have no more than one drink a day.
- Men should have no more than two drinks a day.
A smoker for years, Suzy talks about her paralysis and problems speaking and seeing after smoking caused her to have a stroke.
Tobacco use increases the risk for stroke. Cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk for stroke. The nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure, and the carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry. Even if you don’t smoke, breathing in other people’s secondhand smoke can make you more likely to have a stroke.
- Know the Facts About Stroke [PDF–264K]
- Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
- Women and Stroke [PDF–268K]
- Men and Stroke [PDF–248K]
- African-American Women and Stroke [PDF–910K]
- African-American Men and Stroke [PDF–478K]
- Hispanic Women and Stroke [PDF–327K] – Las Mujeres Hispanas y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–223]
- Hispanic Men and Stroke [PDF–340K] – Los Hombres Hispanos y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–221]
- Hispanics and Stroke [PDF–217K] – Las Personas Hispanas y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–223]
From other organizations:
- What You Need to Know About Stroke–National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Know Stroke: Know the Signs. Act in Time.–National Institutes of Health
- Mind Your Risks–National Institutes of Health
- Stroke–Medline Plus
- Brain Health Resource Page–American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
- Internet Stroke Center
- What is Stroke?–National Stroke Association
- Page last reviewed: May 3, 2018
- Page last updated: May 3, 2018
- Content source: