People who have high blood pressure have more than half the lifetime risk of having stroke compared to those who consistently have optimal blood pressure of 120/80. Anyone who has had a previous heart attack, stroke, is diabetic, has kidney disease, high cholesterol or is overweight should speak with a doctor about aggressively controlling and lowering blood pressure.
Smoking doubles the risk for stroke when compared to a nonsmoker. It reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing the heart to work harder and allowing blood clots to form more easily. Smoking also increases the amount of build-up in the arteries, which may block the flow of blood to the brain, causing a stroke. The good news is that smoking-induced strokes and overall stroke risk can greatly reduced by quitting smoking.
High cholesterol or plaque build-up in the arteries can block normal blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. High cholesterol may also increase the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis, which are both risk factors for stroke.
Maintaining a diet that is low in calories, saturated and trans fats and cholesterol helps manage both obesity and health cholesterol levels in the blood, which also reduces risk for stroke.
Obesity and excessive weight put a strain on the entire circulatory system. They also make people more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes – all of which can increase risk for stroke. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet, physical activity and other medical treatments with the help of a doctor is important for stroke prevention. .Higher risk and burden of stroke have been observed within the Stroke Belt (southeastern states of the U.S.), a region that boasts higher obesity rates compared with elsewhere in the country.
Physical activity can help reduce stroke risk. A recent study showed that people who exercise 5 or more times per week have a reduced stroke risk
Drinking more than one to two drinks each day can increase stroke risk and lead to other medical problems, including heart and liver disease, and possibly brain damage.

AF is a type of irregular heartbeat. It is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat rapidly and unpredictably, producing an irregular heartbeat. AF raises stroke risk because it allows blood to pool in the heart. When blood pools, it tends to form clots which can then be carried to the brain, causing a stroke. Long-term untreated AF can also weaken the heart, leading to heart failure. More than 70 percent of AF patients who have strokes will die. While an estimated 2.2 million people are diagnosed with AF, it is estimated that one-thir
Family history — Stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke. Age — Stroke risks doubles for each decade of life after age 55. Stroke is more common in the elderly, but many under 65 also have strokes. Race — Blacks have a much higher risk of death from stroke than whites do. Sex — Stroke is more common in men than women. However, more than half of total stroke deaths occur in women.  At all ages, more women than men die of stroke.
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