Part of your stroke treatment will include lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of having another stroke. You should also follow up with your neurologist.

General Guidelines for Preventing Another Stroke

If You Smoke, Quit

Extensive research has established smoking as a risk factor for stroke and heart attack . If you smoke, ask your doctor about strategies to quit.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A dietlow in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body weight—three stroke risk factors. Ask your doctor or dietitian for a balanced meal plan.

Exercise Regularly

Follow your doctor’s recommendations for physical activity. Choose enjoyable exercises that are safe for you. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthy weight. For most people, this could include walking briskly or participating in another aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes per day. Talk to your doctor before starting a program.

Lose Weight, If You Are Overweight or Obese

Being overweight or obese is associated with higher risk of stroke. Losing weight lowers that risk. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you expend. To maintain a healthy weight, eat an equal number of calories as you expend.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

Excessive alcohol intake raises your risk of stroke. But, it appears that moderate alcohol intake actually reduces the risk. Studies suggest that one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can be beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Experts agree that if you do not already drink alcohol, you do not need to start because of this recommendation. If you do drink alcohol, talk with your doctor to determine how much is healthy for you.

Treat High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the top risk factors for stroke. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for lowering your blood pressure. You may need to make lifestyle changes and take medicine.

If You Have Diabetes, Manage Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes , you are at increased risk of vascular disease. The tighter you control your blood sugar levels, the slower vascular disease (and other complications) will advance. Work with your doctor and a dietitian to develop a diet and exercise plan that will help you control your blood sugar.