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Tips for Preventing Stroke from UPMC in Central Pa.

Learn how to protect yourself against a possible stroke by understanding the risk factors. Know that while some risk factors cannot be controlled, others can. Become aware of these risk factors and take action.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

  • Age. Stroke risk increases for those greater than age 55.
  • Heredity. African-Americans are two times more likely than Caucasians of the same age to have a stroke.
  • Gender. More women have strokes than men because women live longer, but men have strokes at a younger age then women.
  • Medical history. If you have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a "mini-stroke," you are 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone who has not.

Controllable Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure (the number one risk factor for stroke)
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Obesity/being overweight

Stroke: What's Your Risk?

Be Proactive

Do what you can to change the risk factors you can control.

  • Take your medications as prescribed. This is especially true for heart, blood pressure, blood thinner and diabetes medications. If you can't afford your medications, let your doctor know.
  • Keep your medical appointments.
  • Monitor your health. Check your blood sugar if you are a diabetic. Check your blood pressure.
  • Monitor your weight. Eat healthy and exercise.
  • Know your cholesterol levels. If your LDL or "bad cholesterol" is elevated, then start a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and take medication if directed.
  • If you smoke, quit! For smoking cessation help, call 717-231-8900.
  • Get educated on stroke.

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