Your risk of having a stroke is affected by how you live your life every day, such as by the foods you eat and how active you are. Stroke can also be caused by things you cannot change, such as your age. The good news is that by making small changes to your lifestyle today you can reduce your chances of having a stroke now and in the future.
4 Key stroke risk factors you have the power to change:
Quit smoking. Stopping smoking will almost halve your chances of having a stroke no matter how long you have smoked for.
High Blood Pressure. The best thing you can do to prevent stroke is get your blood pressure checked. It weakens blood vessels, making them less stretchy and more likely to burst or get blocked.
Drink less alcohol. Drinking excess alcohol increases your risk of stroke. Women who drink 4 standard drinks or more each day have an 8-fold risk of stroke.
Eat healthily. Healthy eating plays a powerful role in reducing your chances of stroke. For example a low salt diet helps to reduce your blood pressure levels.
Other factors that can play a part in stroke:
Inactivity. Not being active on a regular increases your risk of stroke by 50%. Aim to build up at least 30 minutes five days a week of moderate intensity activity.
High cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood and if there’s too much, it can block your blood vessels, causing a stroke.
Age – one in four of all strokes happen to people under 65.
Gender – men account for over two thirds of strokes in working age people.
Family history – you are at more risk of stroke if a family member has had it.
Ethnicity – African, Asian and African-Caribbean communities have higher risk.
Medical conditions – a number of medical conditions, including atrial fibrillation, heart failure and diabetes, can increase your risk of stroke.