Stroke Prevention begins with knowing your blood pressure

Stroke Prevention Guidelines:

posted by David Dansereau for know-stroke.org

It doesn’t have to be May (Stroke Awareness Month) to review this list of important (and potentially life saving) guidelines:


1. Know your blood pressure. Have it checked at least annually. If it’s elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Having high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases stroke risk four to six times.

2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation – a type or irregular heartbeat. If left untreated, AF can increase stroke risk four to six times.

3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles stroke risk.

4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Recent studies have suggested that modest alcohol consumption (up to two glasses of wine or alcohol equivalent) may reduce stroke risk.

5. Find out if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol can indirectly increase stroke risk by putting people at greater risk of heart disease.

6. If you’re diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendation carefully to control your diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher stroke risk. This may be due to circulation problems that diabetes can cause.

7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine. Active people tend to have lower cholesterol levels. Regular exercise also seems to slow down or stop the clogging of blood vessels by deposits.

8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet. Too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure and make it more difficult to control. A diet that’s low in fat will likely include vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products and a limited number of eggs.

9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems which increase your risk for stroke.

10. If you experience any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. CALL 911! Every minute counts!

Source:National Stroke Association’s Prevention Advisory Board Stroke Prevention Guidelines.

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3 Replies to “Stroke Prevention begins with knowing your blood pressure”

  1. Hi my name is Marcy , I had TIAS/strokes 12 years ago at age 30. With little to no permanent damage. I was just diagnosed with pfo, i am having a surgery to close on December 28Th. i have been living with symptoms for so long I had just gotten used to feeling bad from time to time. I have been to many doctors over the years, and many ER visits, but no one really seem that concerned. MRIs show many infarct in my cerebellum[8]. although the lab techs always looked surprised, the doctors either looked at me like i was crazy or blamed it on stress, smoking, and birth control, all great explanations all of which i quit,, well stress is impossible, But the symptoms remained.
    thanks to an ivf doctor who decided to check into my health back ground, before proceeding. I now may live to see my grandchildren. YES!! more needs to be out there about PFO. It needs to be taken seriously for young ,and old, paying special attention while women are trying to conceive or are pregnant. Hormone level changes your internal ballgame significantly!
    I’m afraid of surgery, But way more afraid of the unknown [strokes]. the procedure I’m having is through the groin area an seems to have a very high success rate. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get more info to the public. 25% of the population have this problem. To some it’s life changing even without symptoms, and with symptoms no one seems to take it serious. I was too young to be taken serious at the time, thank God nothing catastrophic happened to me.
    looking forward to getting back to a normal stroke free life!

    1. I wish you the best on December 28th. I had a stroke in August 2009 and had heart surgery 2 weeks later at UAB in Birmingham Al. I, too, was terrified of surgery but considering the alternative surgery was a breeze. Only four weeks after having surgery I was able to complete a 5k. I have been looking for opportunities to help with stroke awareness. Sadly, very little is out there. Best of luck your way!

    2. Thank you Marcy for sharing your story on my blog. I agree with you 100% on getting the word out there re: PFO/stroke/migraine/stress connection and it begins with your voice. I encourage you to spread awareness as I can tell you realize how lucky you are. I started this blog out of the same frustration that you described so well regarding docs missing this so often. Pls keep us all posted on your recovery. You will do great!

      ps-I also agree with Erin who recently commented on your post that surgery is a breeze once you get all the options and decide with your physicians it is the right option for you. As Erin posted, you get back to doing very quickly after this procedure. I’m now training for my 2nd Boston Marathon, post stroke and PFO closure and have been migraine free for almost 2.5 years.

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