Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., but it can be prevented.
As a form of cardiovascular disease, stroke shares many of the same characteristics as heart disease. For instance, an ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease are both caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries. If this buildup occurs in an artery that supplies blood to your heart, it results in a heart attack. If the buildup blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain, it causes an ischemic stroke.
Stroke and heart disease also share many of the same major risk factors, including:
- Ethnicity or race
- Excessive alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- History of diabetes
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
Reduce Your Risk
While some factors are out of your control, you can make the following lifestyle modifications to help lessen your risk of having a stroke:
- Address stress. Use meditation, social support, exercise and other healthy ways of coping with anxiety and daily pressures.
- Eat for your heart. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and reduce your consumption of alcohol, saturated and trans fats, sodium, and sugar.
- Get moving. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.
- Reach or maintain a healthy weight. The National Institutes of Health recommends aiming for a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9.