Blood pressure. Keep blood pressure within safe limits by regular checks and medication if required
Smoking. Both smoking and passive smoking can increase risk. If you both smoke consider stopping smoking together. If you find it too difficult to stop just now, think about limiting where you smoke to specific areas and not in the presence of the person who has had a stroke – if they are trying to give up this also makes it easier for them.
Weight Maintain a healthy weight
Exercise Take regular exercise even a short walk everyday is better than nothing to start with. Build up gradually.
Reduce alcohol intake Try to have some alcohol free days as often as you can. Keep to safe levels. Avoid binge drinking
Diet Maintain a healthy diet by reducing salt, sugar and fat in your diet. Increase fruit, vegetables and fiber.
Cholesterol Have your cholesterol levels checked and reduce if necessary by modified diet and medication.
Diabetes If you are diabetic try to make sure your diabetes is controlled and monitored carefully
Drug abuse. Stroke is far more common if you have taken cocaine, heroin or amphetamines illegally
Non Preventable risks
Age– risk increases with age in all of us from 55 onwards.
Gender Statistically more men than women have strokes. However a poor lifestyle is more important than gender
Family history If your family has a history of stroke and heart disease there may be an increased risk for you. (However as much more is known about the causes and prevention of stroke and heart conditions even this risk is more preventable than it once was. With a healthy lifestyle this risk can be reduced in comparison to previous generations)
Previous Stroke If you have had a stroke in the past there is an increased risk but it is not inevitable that you will have another as long as you take medical advice, appropriate medication and lifestyle advice. Secondary prevention will help.
Ethnicity. Some ethnic groups have a higher incidence of stroke. South Asians and Afro-Caribbeans are in this group.