The Top 5 Risk Factors for Stroke

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to shine a spotlight on stroke awareness. Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. As we embark on this journey of raising awareness, it’s important to understand the top risk factors for stroke.

  1. High Blood Pressure: Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure (hypertension) tops the list of stroke risk factors. Uncontrolled hypertension damages blood vessels over time, increasing the likelihood of a stroke. Regular blood pressure checks and management under the guidance of your healthcare team are vital steps in reducing this risk.
  2. Smoking: The harmful effects of smoking extend far beyond the lungs. Smoking doubles or even triples the risk of stroke by promoting the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries and increasing blood clot formation. Quitting smoking is one of the most impactful ways to lower your stroke risk and improve overall health.
  3. Diabetes: Diabetes not only affects blood sugar levels but also significantly elevates the risk of stroke. High blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and nerves, increasing the likelihood of blood clots and narrowing arteries. Proper management of diabetes through medication, diet, and lifestyle changes is necessary for stroke prevention.
  4. High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of cholesterol contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, leading to a narrowing of the arteries that restricts blood flow to the brain, increasing the risk of stroke. Regular cholesterol screenings and lifestyle modifications can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  5. Sedentary Lifestyle and Poor Diet: Lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet rich in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol—key risk factors for stroke. Adopting a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, along with regular exercise, can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.

At the Medical Group of New Jersey, your health and well-being are our top priorities.

Our team of dedicated cardiologists in New Jersey works tirelessly to provide comprehensive cardiology care in New Jersey, from preventive screenings to advanced treatment options. We’re here to partner with you on your journey to optimal heart health.

This National Stroke Awareness Month, let’s empower ourselves and our loved ones with knowledge about stroke risk factors and preventive measures. Together, we can make strides towards a future where strokes are preventable, and lives are saved.