Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk of Stroke
Lifestyle changes that you can do by yourself
ξ Stop smoking. The resources listed below may help you.
UW Smoking Cessation and Prevention Clinic (608) 263-0573
Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line
1-877-270-STOP (7867) toll free
1-877-2NO-FUME (266-3863) Spanish
National Cancer Institute 1-800-4-CANCER
American Cancer Society 1-800-ACS-2345
American Lung Association 1-800-LUNG-USA
www.cdc.gov/health and search “quit smoking”
www.Americanheart.org and search “smoking”
ξ Eat a healthy diet. Start with fresh fruits and vegetables. Add in sources of
lean protein such as white meat chicken without the skin, fish, and lean cuts
of beef and pork. Build in enough carbohydrates to make the meal tasty.
Avoid fats and fried foods.
ξ Exercise. If you are not physically active, add a few minutes of activity into
each day, gradually building up to 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity
activities. If you are now active, but at less than the
recommended levels, try to increase your levels.
o Moderate-intensity activity for 30 minutes or more on 5 or
more days of the week.
o Vigorous-intensity activity for 20 minutes or more on 3 or
more days of the week.
ξ Lower your BMI (Body Mass Index). This assumes you are not
underweight. As BMI increases the risk for stroke, diabetes, and heart
Body Mass Index Risk Levels
Height Minimal risk
(BMI under 25)
(BMI 30.0 and
4’10” 118 lbs or less 119-142 lbs 143 lbs+
4’11” 123 or less 124-147 148+
5’0” 127 or less 128-152 153+
5’1” 131 or less 132-157 158+
5’2” 135 or less 136-163 164+
5’3” 140 or less 141-168 169+
5’4” 144 or less 145-173 174+
5’5” 149 or less 150-179 180+
5’6” 154 or less 155-185 186+
5’7” 158 or less 159-190 191+
5’8” 163 or less 164-196 197+
5’9” 168 or less 169-202 203+
5’10” 173 or less 174-208 209+
5’11” 178 or less 179-214 215+
6’0” 183 or less 184-220 221+
6’1” 188 or less 189-226 227+
6’2” 193 or less 194-232 233+
6’3” 199 or less 200-239 240+
6’4” 204 or less 205-245 246+
ξ Manage your stress. Plan for quiet time, time alone, prayer, meditation,
deep breathing, or relaxation. Maintain a positive attitude.
ξ Avoid dehydration. During the summer months, you should drink at least
two quarts of liquid each day.
ξ Have your blood pressure checked yearly or more often, if needed.
Normal is less than 130/80. If your blood pressure is higher than this, call
Lifestyle changes to work on with your doctor
ξ Speak with your health care provider about help with quitting smoking.
There are drugs and other tools that may help decrease or take away the urge
ξ Decide on the best choice of blood thinners. Use them as prescribed. Do
not stop blood thinners without letting your doctor know. If a doctor asks
you to stop taking a blood thinner for more than 4 days, the person who
prescribed the blood thinner should be informed.
ξ Keep your blood pressure less than 130/80. If your blood pressure is
found to be higher, talk with your health care provider and have it taken
again in a week and then several times per year.
ξ Speak with your doctor about sleep apnea. If you snore and have trouble
with sleep, you may be at a higher risk of stroke and high blood pressure.
ξ If you have diabetes, talk with your health care team about ways to best
manage it. Uncontrolled diabetes also increases your risk of stroke.
ξ Keep your cholesterol levels under control. Learn what you can do to
reduce high levels.
ξ Women who have had any signs of a stroke and have migraines should be
cautious about taking birth control pills, hormone replacements, or
ξ If you are postmenopausal and have had any signs of stroke, discuss with
your health care provider the risks of hormone replacement.
Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6398.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#5736.