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Stroke Prevention

Who is at risk for stroke?

Some diseases and behaviors increase your chance of having a stroke. These are called risk factors and they include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar)
  • High cholesterol

Strokes and high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major cause of stroke. Your blood pressure can be very high and not cause symptoms.

When your blood pressure is measured, you are told two numbers. The top number is your systolic pressure and the bottom number is your diastolic pressure.

  • Your top number should be less than 120.
  • Your bottom number should be less than 80.
  • This is written as: 120 / 80

Steps to decrease your risk

1. Have your blood pressure checked.

2. If you have high blood pressure, keep track of your numbers.

3. Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

4. Have your cholesterol checked.

5. Find out if you have diabetes.


1. Are you older than age 55?

2. Have you ever been told that you have high blood pressure?

3. Do you smoke?

4. Do you have high cholesterol?

5. Have you ever been told that you have diabetes or high blood sugar?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you should talk to your doctor about your risk.


A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. The brain depends on the oxygen in your blood vessels to control the function of your body.

When a stroke happens, you can have symptoms that show that the brain is not working at its best. These can be remembered with the word “FAST”.

Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Ask the person to repeat a phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Call 911 if you or someone you know has symptoms of stroke. Brain function can be saved if you are having a stroke and get help quickly.

To make an appointment with a stroke neurologist, call (832) 325-7080.