Every year, nearly 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke—but few of us are doing anything to prevent it from happening.

 

Some factors are out of our control: your stroke risk increases as you age, and you’re more likely to have a stroke if a close relative has had a stroke. But did you know there are steps you can take today that will reduce your chances of having a stroke later in life?

 

 

1. Lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure (sometimes called “hypertension”) is the biggest single risk factor of stroke. Here are some ways you can work to lower your blood pressure:

Make sure to talk to your doctor about the best ways to lower your blood pressure.

 

2. Exercise more

We’re obviously big fans of this one! Regular exercise can reduce your risk of stroke. That could mean adding an extra day at the club for a group fitness class, adding in some virtual workouts at home, or taking more walks around your neighborhood.

 

3. Quit smoking

We know this is a big ask if you’ve been smoking for a long time, but according to Harvard Health, quitting smoking is one of the most powerful lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chance of stroke. Ask your doctor for advice on the best ways to quit.

 

4. Eat a healthy diet

Keep your diet low in sodium and make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

 

5. Manage any other health conditions

Make sure to keep up with regular doctor visits and manage any other health conditions you might have, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.