Behaviors That Increase Risk for Stroke
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
- Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
- Men and Stroke
- Women and Stroke
From other organizations:
- What You Need to Know About Strokeexternal icon–National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Know Stroke: Know the Signs. Act in Time.external icon–National Institutes of Health
- Mind Your Risksexternal icon–National Institutes of Health
- Strokeexternal icon–Medline Plus
- Brain Health Resource Pageexternal icon–American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
- Internet Stroke Centerexternal icon
- What is Stroke?external icon–National Stroke Association