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Tips on lowering your stroke risk

Tips on lowering your stroke risk

Each year, in May, we recognize National Stroke Month. Why? Because stroke awareness and prevention is the best way to minimize the risks and damages of stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five killer and a leading cause of disability in America. But you can control, treat, and improve several risk factors for stroke.

Touro Vascular Neurologist, Dr. Sheryl Martin-Schild, talks about living a healthier lifestyle to prevent a stroke as well as other health conditions that can occur if you aren't taking care of your body.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. But certain things can increase your chances of having a stroke, some are controllable and some uncontrollable such as increased age, the older you are the greater your risk.

Let's talk about the factors that you can control. It is crucial that you pay attention to these risk factors and improve on them to decrease your chances of having a stroke. 

1. Blood pressure

One of the most important things you can do to decrease your chances of stroke is taking control over your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor and the leading cause for stroke. It is important to know your blood pressure and have it regularly checked every year. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.

RELATED: Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol

2. Get active or stay active

It's really important to keep your body moving. Being inactive, obese, or both can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Aim to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Being active doesn't have to be strenuous and shouldn't feel like a chore. Go for a walk, do some yard work, consider water aerobics, anything that you feel comfortable with incorporating into your daily lifestyle to stay happy and healthy.

Being physically active not only lowers your risk of having a stroke but dementia as well. It helps control other risk factors such as diabetes, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases. 

3. Healthy diet

We're talking about healthy diets again? Yes! A healthy diet is crucial in lowering your risk for certain conditions including stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, diets high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels and those high in sodium can increase blood pressure. A diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke. 

As they say, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away!"

RELATED: 5 heart-healthy tips for combatting high cholesterol

If you think you may be at risk of stroke, please speak with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Stroke is not only dangerous but also deadly. 
For more information on stroke care or to learn about Touro's Certified Primary Stroke Care Center, please visit