Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke

Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke

According to, less than 20% of hospitals in the United States are stroke certified. The National Stroke Association is an organization that works to assist stroke victims and their families and caregivers with educational programs on care and prevention and stroke awareness. But it seems to this writer that it would be best if we worked harder on prevention.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can be affected by a stroke, some habits and health issues may make some people more susceptible to stroke than others, but nearly 80% of strokes could be avoided by identifying risks and taking measures to control these behaviors and/or health conditions.


With the seriousness of the effects of a stroke, it seems one would want to control anything they are capable of controlling to prevent or lower their risk factors for a stroke. These are some of the behaviors and conditions that increase your risk of stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise / physical inactivity
  • TIA (transient ischemic attack)
  • Birth control pills
  • Family history: you can”t really control this but makes you more aware of the risks
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)
  • Gender: women are more likely to have a stroke
  • Hypercoagulability
  • Chronic inflammation diseases such as Lupus
  • Low birth weight
  • Migraine headaches
  • Obesity
  • Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
  • Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy
  • Previous stroke: persons that have had prior stokes are at higher risk
  • Ethnicity: Hispanics and African Americans are at higher risk
  • Sleep apnea
  • Age: older persons are at higher risk

High blood pressureThat’s a lot of risk increasing factors! Regular checkups with your family physician may catch any of these medical conditions, and then treating these conditions will help control the risk factors associated with them. But your doctor can’t make you exercise