Preventing Stroke: Top 10 Risk Factors - Peripheral Vascular Associates
Preventing Stroke: Top 10 Risk Factors - Peripheral Vascular Associates

Preventing Stroke: Top 10 Risk Factors


Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide and the second leading cause of death. 1 in 4 of us will have a stroke in our lifetime but almost all strokes can be prevented. It’s important to know the risk factors associated with strokes.


  • Hypertension or high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and left untreated could lead to a stroke. High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms so it important to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor can help you manage it.
  • Exercise – Exercising at least 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes or more can help your risks of having stroke. According to, 1 million strokes a year are linked to physical inactivity.
  • Diet – A healthy diet is key to preventing strokes. Eating a well balance diet with vegetables and lean meats can reduce your risk. A healthy diet can also reduce your risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol which can contribute to your stroke risk.
  • Weight – Your weight has a lot to do with your health. Being overweight can increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure which all contribute to a higher stroke risk.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) If your doctor has diagnosed you with AFib, which is an irregular heart rate, it is very important that it be treated. According to, people with Atrial Fibrillation are 5 times more likely to have a stroke than the general public.
  • Smoking or Vaping Can considerably increase your risk of having a stroke and can contribute to other diseases. Smoking and vaping raises your blood pressure and builds plaque that clogs your arteries that can lead to a stroke.
  • Alcohol Consuming too much alcohol on a regular basis can greatly advance your risk for having a stroke. Alcohol contributes to high blood pressure and can increase the chance of atrial fibrillation, two other health-related risk factors for stroke.
  • High LDL cholesterol – Having too much cholesterol in your blood can cause fatty deposits to build up in your arteries which causes narrowing in your arteries. Controlling cholesterol through diet and medications is very important to reduce your risk of having a stroke.
  • Diabetes Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, making a stroke more likely. Controlling diabetes is key to reducing your risks for other diseases that can contribute to your stroke risk.
  • Stress and Depression – Chronic stress and depression can wreak havoc on your health and can increase your risk for having a TIA (mini stroke). Managing your stress and depression is key to reducing your stroke risk.

If you have any of these risk factors, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss how to manage them and what your stroke risk is.

Know the signs of a stroke. Call 911 if you see these signs happening to someone.

The FAST test is an easy way for everyone to remember and recognize the signs of stroke. FAST stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time to act:

  • Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms – Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time – Is critical. If you notice any of these warning signs, act FAST. Call 911 immediately.
  • Think FAST. Act Fast. Stroke IS a medical emergency.

Peripheral Vascular Associates is proud to serve the San Antonio community and surrounding areas in vascular disease education, prevention, and treatment for over 43 years. Our vascular specialists are dedicated to helping our patients better understand how we can help them with vascular disease. If you would like more information about vascular health, please contact us or schedule an appointment at 210.237.4444.

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