Strokes aren’t typically a surprise out of nowhere.

While it’s difficult to predict when a stroke might hit, there are more than 20 factors that make it more likely a person will suffer a stroke.

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It’s true some of those factors aren’t preventable, like age and family health history, but there are some things each of us can do to lower our risk for suffering a stroke.

Those who have suffered a stroke often wish they would’ve taken the right steps toward prevention, and those who haven’t suffered a stroke can take the following steps to help lower your stroke risk.

Taking Action to Eliminate Significant Lifestyle Stroke Risks

By changing your lifestyle, even one step at a time, you can reduce your risk for a stroke.

First and foremost, if you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit. Smoking is the leading risk factor for a stroke and to make matters worse, it makes every other risk for a stroke worse. If you smoke, the biggest way to eliminate the risk of a stroke is to quit.

And that’s not the only lifestyle change we can make. Other changes include:

Losing Weight – You can work with your doctor to develop a plan to get to a healthy weight.

Reduce the Amount of Alcohol You Drink – Drinking more than two drinks a day for men and a drink a day for women can raise your stroke risk. It’s also important to remember even if you don’t drink all week, bingeing on the weekend can be difficult.

Reduce Your Sodium – If you’re consuming more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, it’s too much. And if you are older than 51, African American, or have diabetes, kidney disease or certain conditions, more than 1,500mg a day is too much.

Eat Healthier – Of course any topic related to improving our health includes something to do with our diet. If you’re looking to reduce your risk for a stroke, it’s important to cut back on saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. Also keep in mind you’ll need to reduce the amount of sugar you eat and watch how much red meat you’re eating. By adding more vegetables, fruits, fat-free and low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts to your diet you can reduce your stroke risk.

Exercise – New studies indicate a lack of exercise may be just as bad for your health as smoking. Find an activity you enjoy and make sure you’re doing it regularly to reduce you risk for a stroke.

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Take Action to Improve Your Health

There’s not usually a single thing we can do to reduce our risk for a stroke, and sometimes reducing our risk for a stroke means looking at other aspects of our health that may be signs for danger to come.

Keep the following in check to help keep your stroke risk as low as possible.

Blood Pressure – If you’re not aware of what your blood pressure is, get it checked. If you need help lowering it, look at your diet and exercise level. Change may be needed and sometimes that may mean taking a prescription to get help for high blood pressure. Supplement like HeartBeet Complete also offer support for healthy blood pressure.

Cholesterol – High cholesterol is bad because it builds up in the arteries and restricts blood flow, which can lead to a stroke. Be sure you know your cholesterol levels and discuss any action you may need to take with your doctor.

Diabetes – Diabetes quadruples a person’s stroke risk. 66 percent of people with diabetes end up dying because of a stroke or heart attack. Managing other factors, like blood pressure and cholesterol,  is vital to reducing your stroke risk if you have diabetes.

What you do today can make a big difference down the road when it comes to preventing a stroke. Don’t ignore the possibility, get started by taking just a small action and then build upon that.

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