Certain risk factors can increase your chances of having a stroke. If you have identified personal risk factors, work with your doctor to reduce your personal risk. Also try to eliminate some risk factors. For example, lifestyle risk factors such as diet and exercise are part of controllable risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors are habits or behaviors people choose to engage in. If changed, they can directly affect some medical risk factors by improving them.
Smoking doubles the risk of stroke when compared to a nonsmoker. Smoking increases clot formation, thickens blood, and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. If you smoke, try as hard as possible to stop. Ask your doctor about quit-smoking aids like nicotine patches, counseling, and programs that are available to you. Quitting smoking can be difficult, so don’t give up if you are not successful the first time you try.
Alcohol use has been linked to stroke in many studies. Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Aim to drink in moderation – no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
A healthy diet can help you reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve your overall health, and help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Eating healthy includes making informed decisions about food choices and balancing your calories.
Healthier eating habits include:
Healthier eating habits limit: