Stroke: What you need to know

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 1 cause of long-term disability and one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

According to the American Stroke Association, about 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.

However, 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

The Heart Disease and Stroke Connection

If you have heart disease, you are at risk for stroke. Likewise, those who have suffered a stroke are at risk for heart disease. Learn the similarities and differences between these two related conditions and how to prevent them.

Act now to lower your risk of stroke

check your blood pressureKnow and manage your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the main cause of stroke. With high blood pressure, you have one-and-a-half times the risk of having a stroke. Check your blood pressure regularly.

      • Optimal level is 120/80.
      • Work with your doctor to help manage and lower your numbers. 

know your cholesterolMaintain healthy cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is one of the main risk factors of stroke that you can control through diet, exercise and conversations with your doctor.

      • Total cholesterol <200 mg/dl
      • LDL <100 mg/dl
      • HDL (good cholesterol) >50 mg/dl for women, or >40 mg/dl for men

Eat healthy

Reserve half your plate for fruits and vegetables and a fourth for healthy proteins like fish, poultry and beans. Limit daily sodium intake to 1500 mg.

Reduce your changes of stroke through exerciseExercise

Keep active to decrease your risk of stroke. Just 30 minutes of light-to-moderate activity five times a week helps prevent heart disease and stroke.