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Reduce Your Risk of Suffering a Stroke

Strokes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood circulation to the brain fails, primarily due to a blood clot or narrowing of the artery leading to the brain. This deprives the brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients.

Symptoms of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body; sudden confusion or difficulty speaking; sudden vision difficulty; dizziness or loss of vision; and a sudden, severe headache. Treatment is more effective if given quickly.

Michelle Alpert, MD, director of rehabilitative medicine for Hebrew SeniorLife, says the following tips can help reduce your risk for stroke:

  • Have your blood pressure checked annually and treated if high (above 120/80 mg/dL).

  • Stop smoking.

  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation, lower blood pressure, increase your good cholesterol and control your weight.

  • Eat a diet low in fats, saturated fatty acids and cholesterol - and high in fruits and vegetables.

  • Manage diabetes, if you have it; uncontrolled diabetes can damage the blood vessels going to the brain.

  • Control your cholesterol.

  • Drink no more than two alcoholic beverages per day for men and no more than one per day for women.

Above content provided by Hebrew SeniorLife in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted July 2012

Contact Information

Division of Gerontology
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building #1B (West Campus)
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-8696

Contact Information

Hebrew Senior Life
1200 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131
617-363-8000