How to Prevent a Stroke

A stroke can happen suddenly with little warning. But many of the risk factors for stroke are preventable. Improving your overall health can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. People with a family history of stroke should be especially careful about managing their risk.

What Are Risk Factors for Stroke?

Some of the most serious risk factors for stroke are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking

High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage your blood vessels and cause fat to accumulate on the walls of your arteries, increasing your risk of stroke. Smoking also damages your arteries and raises your risk of blood clots.

Preventive Measures

Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  • Check your numbers frequently - Regularly check your blood pressure and cholesterol to monitor your health.
  • Lower your blood pressure - If your blood pressure is high, ask your doctor about ways to lower it, such as:
    • Exercise
    • Weight loss
    • Medications
  • Lower your cholesterol - If you have high cholesterol, you can lower it by eating foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal, beans, and apples, as well as foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and walnuts.
  • Quit smoking - Talk with your doctor about ways to quit smoking. Get started with our Nicotine and Tobacco Recovery program.

Let’s prevent stroke together.

Stroke is a medical emergency and time counts. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you’re with is exhibiting symptoms, such as blurred vision, facial drooping, one-sided body weakness, problems speaking or being understood and/or a sudden and severe headache.

Stroke prevention tips:

  • Monitor and lower blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Take steps to manage stress
  • Don’t smoke, but if you do, consider quitting
  • Know your cholesterol and blood sugar levels (A1C) (LDL)
  • Eat well
  • Exercise regularly
  • If you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, be sure it is managed
  • Take medication as prescribed by your doctor

Building a relationship with a Primary Care Physician (PCP) is one of the best ways to maintain good health, manage chronic health conditions and monitor and address risk factors for conditions such as stroke and heart disease. To be connected with an RWJBarnabas Health PCP, visit or call 888-724-7123.