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How to Minimize Your Chance of Stroke

Risk Factors That You Can Change or Control

Some of the most important treatable or controllable risk factors for stroke are:
 
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is by far the most potent risk factor for stroke. People with high blood pressure have a risk for stroke that is four to six times higher than the risk for those without high blood pressure. Also, 40 to 90 percent of stroke patients have high blood pressure before their stroke event.
 
If your blood pressure is high, you and your doctor will need to work out an individual strategy to bring it down to the normal range. Ways to lower blood pressure include:
 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding drugs known to raise blood pressure
  • Cutting down on salt
  • Eating fruits and vegetables to increase potassium in your diet
  • Exercising more
  • Taking medicines that help lower blood pressure.
     
Controlling high blood pressure will also help you avoid heart disease and kidney failure.
 
(See Effects of High Blood Pressure for more information on the possible damage that can occur from long-term high blood pressure.)
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