Your health questions answered: What can I do to lower my risk of stroke?

You ask. OHSU health experts answer. This month, one of our stroke experts is on the hot seat. 

Q: Stroke runs in my family: What can I do to lower my risk?

A: The most important thing you can do to lower your risk of stroke is to keep your blood pressure under control.

Also, conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes can run in families and increase your stroke risk.

If you have an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), talk to your doctor because it can increase your chance of stroke, especially as you age.

Your lifestyle plays a part, too.

For example, quitting smoking cuts your risk of stroke in half. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily, also can help keep you healthy.

Diet counts, too.

Reduce your consumption of red meat and processed foods, and eat more fruits and vegetables instead.

Managing stress also can lower your blood pressure, thus lowering your risk.



Helmi Lutsep, M.D. is vice chairwoman of neurology and sees patients at the OHSU Stroke Center, which was recently recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for achieving the highest level of performance in stroke care.