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Lower your chances of stroke

Having a stroke can be a catastrophic, life-changing event. Heart disease and stroke are preventable, yet they remain leading causes of death and disability, and health care spending in the US. Alarmingly, many of these events happen to adults ages 35-64—over 800,000 in 2016.

You may be able to prevent a stroke or lower your chances of having a stroke. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you prevent stroke. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol, and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chances of having a stroke.

Physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends two and a half hours of moderate- intensity aerobic physical activity, such as a brisk walk, each week.

If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for stroke.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women only one.

Learn the signs of stroke, and call 9-1-1 right away if you think someone might be having a stroke. Getting fast treatment is important to preventing death and disability from stroke. Stroke is treatable.

Common stroke warning signs and symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.