Preventing Stroke: Healthy Living
You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you prevent stroke. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chances of having a stroke.
For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, see CDC’s Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program website.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for stroke. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat.
Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week. Children and teens should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.
For more information, see CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity website.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for stroke. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use website.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one. For more information, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health website.
- Know the Facts About Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–264K]
- Know the Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
- Women and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–268K]
- Men and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–248K]
- African-American Women and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–910K]
- African-American Men and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–478K]
- Hispanic Women and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–327K] – Las Mujeres Hispanas y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–223]
- Hispanic Men and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–340K] – Los Hombres Hispanos y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–221]
- Hispanics and Stroke Cdc-pdf[PDF–217K] – Las Personas Hispanas y Los Accidentes Cerebrovasculares [PDF–223]
From other organizations:
- What You Need to Know About StrokeExternal—National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Know Stroke: Know the Signs. Act in Time.External—National Institutes of Health
- Mind Your RisksExternal–National Institutes of Health
- StrokeExternal–Medline Plus
- Brain Health Resource PageExternal–American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
- Internet Stroke CenterExternal