How to Prevent Stroke


A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition. It affects the blood vessels that lead to and from the brain. A stroke occurs when one of these blood vessels is completely or partially blocked either by clots, ruptures or bursts. When this happens, brain cells cannot get enough oxygen leading to cell death.

Types of Strokes

There are 5 different types of strokes:

  1. Ischemic Stroke (Clots): Occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. This type accounts for 87% of all stroke cases.1
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke (Bleeds): Occurs when there is a rupture of a weakened vessel. The foremost common reason behind hemorrhagic stroke is hypertension (high blood pressure). The two forms of weakened blood vessels that usually cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arterio-venous malformations (AVMs).2
  3. TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack): Caused by a temporary clot and should be taken seriously as it’s considered a warning sign of having another more harmful stroke.3
  4. Brain Stem Stroke: A stroke that affects the brain stem and both sides of the body. This may leave someone in a ‘locked-in’ state resulting in the patient generally becoming unable to talk or move below the neck.4
  5. Cryptogenic Stroke: When the cause of the stroke is unknown.5

Signs and symptoms

There are various signs and symptoms of a stroke. The main signs and symptoms can be abbreviated by the word FAST:

  • F (Face): Face, eye or mouth may have dropped on one side, making the patient unable to smile or even open their eye properly.
  • A (Arms): The patient can’t lift both their arms and keep them lifted for a long time due to the numbness in their arms.
  • S (Speech): The patient’s speech may seem slurred and incomprehensible.
  • T (Time): Time is an important factor in these cases, so calling 999 as soon as possible is mandatory.

Other signs and symptoms of strokes can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden loss or blurring of vision
  • Balance problems
  • Complete paralysis of only one side of the body
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Can you reverse this disease?

While there are various factors that may cause you to be more likely to have a stroke, such as family history, older age or high blood pressure, experts say 80% of strokes can be prevented.5

So, what can you do to lower the risk of getting a stroke?

According to WebMD, here are some tips to reduce your likelihood of suffering from a stroke:6

  • Keep your pressure as balanced as you can, as high blood pressure is the No. 1 cause of strokes.
  • Stay away from smoking
  • Control your diabetes - High blood sugar can increase your risk 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke.
  • Watch your cholesterol - Too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart attack and stroke.
  • Exercise as much as you can daily
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Never ignore a snore - It can boost your chances of a stroke by keeping you from getting enough oxygen and raising your blood pressure.

Lifestyle factors

The following lifestyle factors have the greatest impact on increasing your risk of a stroke. We will also look at what you can do to reduce your risk from today.


Your diet is extremely important in reducing the risk of stroke. Hypertension and high cholesterol levels can cause atherosclerosis which leads to strokes, so avoiding food that can increase their levels is mandatory.7

Eating too much food that is energy-dense, containing high levels of saturated fats (e.g. meat and full-fat products), fried, or high in glycaemic load can clog your arteries; thus increasing the risk of strokes.7 Too much salt in food also can lead to high blood pressure and so to an increased possibility of a stroke.8

Healthy eating can lower your risk of a stroke and help you shed weight if you need to. Following eating habits that include high amounts of fruits, vegetables, soy foods and other legumes, nuts, unsaturated fats, and foods that are low in energy density and high in fibre is highly encouraged.7

Increasing your intake of fish is also good for your health because it is associated with a lower risk of cerebrovascular disease risk; thus reducing the risk for ischemic stroke.

Keeping your vitamin D status adequate protects you from strokes.7

Physical Activity

Exercise has many benefits, including reducing the risk of having a stroke. Physical activity has been shown to lower high blood pressure, and reduce obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes - which are potential risk factors for strokes.

Doing moderate exercise such as being active for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week helps in lowering the risk of strokes. Also, low-intensity activities, such as walking and dancing, are good for those who suffer from other health problems.9

Studies have shown that those who exercised more were 20% less likely to suffer strokes than those who exercised the least.10

Start slowly and gradually to build your exercise program and it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting it to select the right type of activities for your health. 


Obesity increases the possibility of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, accelerated atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, and obstructive sleep apnea which are all factors that increase the risk of stroke.10

Dieting and physical activity are the main treatments for obesity. Calorie-restriction diets are one of the most common dietary plans. A low-calorie diet refers to a diet with a total calorie intake of 800-1500 calories, while a very low-calorie diet has less than 800 calories daily. However, these calories must be balanced between macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.11 

After reaching the desired weight, calories can be gradually increased wisely to maintain the weight without any increase. 

A recent analysis shows that by calorie restriction and exercise, weight loss of 5-8.5 kg was observed 6 months after the intervention.11


Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and cyanide. These chemicals are transferred from your lungs into your bloodstream, damaging cells all around your body. The changes in your body caused by these chemicals can increase your risk of strokes

Other than the high possibility of having strokes, smoking can damage your health, so deciding on quitting should be taken seriously. Here are some useful tips to help you quit smoking:

  • Write a list of all the damages that smoking can cause to you and read it when you start to crave smoking.
  • Use Nicotine replacement therapy, such as Patches and gums. They will help to relieve smoking withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, restlessness and irritability.
  • Seek help and support from your family and friends.
  • Distract yourself with other activities, such as doodling or crosswords.


Drinking alcohol has harmful effects on your body; it can increase the risk of having strokes. According to research, alcohol contributes to many medical conditions such as high blood pressure, being overweight, diabetes, and liver damage. All of these conditions are linked to the possibility of strokes.

Some tips can help you reduce your alcohol intake or even cut it off:

  • Ask your GP for advice
  • Seek help and support from your family and friends
  • Write down the amount you drink daily and try to reduce it 
  • Go for smaller glasses of alcohol
  • Try alternatives to alcohol such as alcohol-free fruit drinks.
  •  Work out and do physical activities.


Sleep can affect the risk of strokes. A study published in the Neurology journal on nearly 32,000 adults aged 65 years, analysed the relation between sleep and risk of stroke.12 The study showed that people who sleep at night for more than 9 hours had a 23% higher risk of suffering from a stroke than those who slept less than 8 hours.12 Also, people who had poor sleep quality had an 85% risk of suffering from a stroke.12

For tips on how to improve your sleep, click here.


Keeping your emotional health balanced is necessary for your physical health. Self-care is important for overall good health.

Set yourself goals, focus on your strengths, eat healthy food, and avoid negative people.


A stroke is a life-threatening medical condition; however, 80% of strokes can be prevented. There are several different lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your risk of suffering from a stroke. For example, eating a balanced diet, performing regular exercise, stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption. 

Diagnostic Testing

At Klarity we use the latest technology when it comes to diagnostic testing. Our home blood tests give your health insights and personalised recommendations. Find out which test you should take.


  1. Ischemic strokes(Clots) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  2. Hemorrhagic strokes(Bleeds) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  3. Transient ischaemic attack (Tia) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  4. Brain stem stroke [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  5. 5 critical steps to help prevent a stroke [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  6. Wheeler RB. What can help prevent a stroke? [Internet]. WebMD. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  7. Stroke | nutrition guide for clinicians [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  8. faulknerproject. The connection between high sodium intake and stroke risk [Internet]. southflcardio. 2021 [cited 2022 Jul 6]. Available from:
  9. Lee CD, Folsom AR, Blair SN. Physical activity and stroke risk. Stroke [Internet]. 2003 Oct [cited 2022 Jul 6];34(10):2475–81. Available from:
  10. Fock KM, Khoo J. Diet and exercise in management of obesity and overweight. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Dec;28 Suppl 4:59–63.

Nessma Adel

Bachelor's degree, Dentistry, Cairo University, Egypt

Nessma is a Qualified General Dentist with a bachelor degree from Cairo University (Al-Kasr Al-Aini) with very good experience in working for private clinics. Also a passoinate dental content writer. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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