Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, a neurologist and director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health, states preventions are “not just for preventing stroke, but for preventing dementia as well. You can do the same things to prevent both.”

These are five ways to start on prevention:

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for stroke.[1]
  • Move more, physical activity has been shown to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
  • Keep blood pressure under control, which can be accomplished by lifestyle changes and/or taking medication.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This can help minimize weight gain as people get older and decrease risk of stroke.
  • Start early because strokes happen to young people also.  Approximately 10% – 15% of all strokes occur in adults aged 18 to 50 years.[2]

This does not have to be a massive undertaking; it is best to start with one thing. First identify the thing most lacking. Is it exercise, snacking too much and not eating as healthy as possible, or smoking? Focus on one thing and break it down into parts to make it easy to stick with.

Learn more:

5 Critical Steps to Help Prevent a Stroke [Internet] American Heart Association. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/05/05/5-critical-steps-to-help-prevent-a-stroke

[1] Feigin VL, Roth GA, Naghavi M, et al. Global burden of stroke and risk factors in 188 countries, during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet Neurol 2016;15:913-24.

[2] Singhal AB, Biller J, Elkind MS, Fullerton HJ, Jauch EC, Kittner SJ, et al.. Recognition and management of stroke in young adults and adolescentsNeurology. 2013; 81:1089–1097. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a4a451