Stroke services

How do I reduce the risk of having a stroke?

There are certain medical and lifestyle factors that can increase your chance of stroke. Taking steps to change, or manage as many of these risk factors as you can, will help you to reduce your risk of stroke.

Medical factors

A number of medical problems can increase your risk of stroke. Your GP can test you for them, and give you advice on the best way to control them: 

  • High blood pressure: this causes hardening of the arteries which can weaken walls of blood vessels. This will be closely monitored flowing stroke, and you maybe started on medication to reduce your blood pressure

  • Irregular heart beat (Atrial Fibrillation): can cause pooling of the blood in the chambers of the heart, which then result in a clot that gets carried into the blood stream. Your heart rhythm and rate will be monitored after your stroke, and you maybe started on medication to thin your blood, and to regulate your heart beat

  • High cholesterol: raised cholesterol can cause hardening of arteries, and possibly an increase in blood pressure. You maybe started on medication to reduce your cholesterol following stroke

  • Diabetes: too much sugar in your blood can cause fatty deposits to build up in your arteries, which can lead to them becoming blocked, increasing your risk of stroke. This risk maybe decreased by improved blood sugar control.

Take control of your health! Monitor your own pulse, have regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks by your GP or pharmacist.

What can I change to reduce my risk of stroke?

A healthy diet is important. It is recommended to eat 5 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables daily, as part of a low fat, low salt diet.

Stopping smoking will reduce your risk of stroke immediately. The ward staff can refer you to the Smoking Cessation advisors in hospital, who can support you giving up.

Limit alcohol intake as excessive consumption can raise blood pressure, particularly when binge drinking. It is advised men have no more than 21 units per week, and women have no more than 14 units per week. You should have 2 alcohol free days per week.

Moderate exercise will help increase blood flow, and can help reduce your blood pressure. It will also help with weight loss. Choose an activity you enjoy, and gradually build it up daily.