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Reduce your risk of stroke

These pages provide practical help and information to help you reduce your risk of stroke.

This information is helpful to everyone:

  • If you have had a TIA or minor stoke, or if you have had a previous stroke: secondary prevention.
  • If you have no history of stroke illness: primary prevention.

Risk factors

measuring blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for stroke.

There are certain things that increase the risk of stroke . These are called ‘risk factors’. Heart disease and stroke are sometimes put together using the term ‘cardiovascular disease’ (CVD). As the risk factors for heart disease and stroke are the same they are referred to as cardiovascular risk factors.

Some of these cardiovascular risk factors you cannot alter. For example, family history of heart disease and / or stroke (i.e. a father or brother who developed heart disease or a stroke before they were 55, or a mother or sister before they were 65).

For some things you will need the help of doctors and nurses to identify any particular problems you may have as well as making sure these things are controlled on an ongoing basis. In particular:

More complex situations may need access to specialist services such as preventative surgery.

Lifestyle risk factors

Other cardiovascular risk factors are to do with the way you lead your life. These ‘lifestyle risk factors’ include:

Making changes to your lifestyle can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of stroke.

Stress is not considered a risk factor. However, when it begins to affect your health stress can become a trigger for unhealthy behaviour which can increase your risk of stroke (e.g. smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating poorly and not getting enough physical activity). To make the necessary lifestyle changes that may reduce your risk of stroke it is important to be well motivated and to learn to reduce, and control, the amount of stress in your life and to recognise if you are down or possibly depressed.

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