• Talk to your health care professional – share your healthy history, get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and ask if taking an aspirin each day is right for you.
• High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke. One in 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and half of these individuals do not have their condition under control.
• High cholesterol affects 1 in 3 American adults, and two-thirds of these individuals do not have the condition under control.
• Many people with diabetes have health problems that are also stroke risk factors. A doctor and dietician can help manage diabetes.
• Eat a healthy diet, get more exercise, and follow your health care professional’s instructions about medication you take.
• What you eat has a big impact on your heart health. When planning meals and snacks, try to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, limit sodium, saturated fat, transfat, and cholesterol.
• Cook at home more often. Whenever possible, select foods that are low in sodium or have no salt added. Limit sauces, mixes and “instant” products, including flavored rice and ready-made pasta.
• Obesity can increase your risk for stroke. To keep your body at a healthy weight and to fight high blood pressure and cholesterol, make physical activity part of your daily routine.
• Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you’re a smoker, quit as soon as possible, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
• You can support smoke-free policies in your community to try to avoid secondhand smoke.
• Fatty deposits can block arteries carrying blood to the brain and lead to a stroke. Talk to your health care professional about treating circulation problems.
• If you have symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor for an exam.