Would you know if you were at risk of stroke? While there is no absolute way to know that you will or will not ever have a stroke in your lifetime, there are signs that you are at high risk of stroke. The good news is that you can do something about every one of these signs so you can significantly lower your stroke risk.

1. Your Blood Pressure is Out of Control

If you consistently have high blood pressure or if you are trying to avoid actually finding out what your blood pressure is- that is bad news.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be managed with medication, diet and lifestyle adjustments such as lowering stress and not smoking. Make sure you see your doctor to find out what your blood pressure is and, under your doctor’s supervision, start making changes if you need to.

2. Your Blood Sugar is High- or You Don’t Know What it is

Erratic blood sugar, chronically elevated blood sugar or uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels, increasing your risk of stroke. Make sure to see your doctor regularly so that you can get appropriate diabetes screening and proper treatment through diet or medication, as necessary.

3. You Smoke

Smoking is a hard habit to break. It is one of the most significant signs that you are at risk of having a stroke. The good news is that, despite the harmful stroke-causing impact of smoking, these effects amazingly reverse over time after you quit smoking.

4. You Don’t Get Enough Exercise

Exercise is easy to ignore. It can seem like a hassle. It can be tough to start exercising if you have aches and pains. But no matter what your health situation is- whether you are healthy or if you have already had a serious stroke, there are safe and easy exercises that can keep you fit while decreasing your stroke risk.

5. You Have High Cholesterol

This is a confusing one, especially lately. While American Heart Association recommendations for dietary cholesterol have changed recently, you still need to maintain recommended levels. Optimal levels are considered to be below 150 mg/dL for triglycerides, below 100 mg/dL for LDL, above 50 mg/dl for HDL and below 200 mg/dL for total cholesterol. The new recommendations mean that dietary cholesterol is not the cause of high blood cholesterol, but instead that dietary fat and genetic factors cause high cholesterol. It is a subtle difference that actually means a lot when it comes to diet. Find out more here.

6. You Are Always Flying Off the Handle

Stress is a major contributor to hypertension, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes- all of which cause a stroke. Stress control and an overall calm, relaxed lifestyle can significantly decrease your stroke risk.

7.You Carry Deep Stress

Stress isn’t always manifested as blowing your fuse. Some people are stressed out because of the burden of hiding something, living with secret anger, constantly trying to impress someone who is hard to please or endlessly chasing after approval. Overcoming hidden stress is equally as important as overcoming more obvious stress.

8. You Don’t Take Your Medications

Most stroke risk factors can be managed. But that requires regularly taking your medications, refilling prescriptions and getting routine check-ups in case any of your doses need to be adjusted. Take good care of your health- you deserve it, even if it is a bit of a hassle.

9. You Don’t Get Attention For Your Heart Disease

If you have shortness of breath when you walk or exert yourself or if you experience chest pain, then you are running a huge risk of a stroke or a heart attack. Don’t delay getting medical attention of you ever experience chest pain.

10. Ignoring TIAs

Most people wouldn’t recognize a TIA. Take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with stroke and TIA symptoms. If you have had any of these signs or symptoms, you need to get medical attention right away, because a TIA is the loudest warning sign that you are at risk of stroke.

The top 10 signs that you are at risk of a stroke are serious and should never be taken lightly. Make sure you get the right stroke preventative medical attention for yourself or for someone you care about.

TIA: A mini stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), is a brief stroke that improves on its own. A mini stroke is characterized by neurological symptoms that can range from mild to severe and may involve physical impairment or cognitive functions.

Mini Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms of a TIA can last from a few minutes to a few hours, but by definition they go away in less than 24 hours. Most of the time, mini strokes are brief, lasting for only a few seconds or minutes.

Up to 20 percent of people who experience mini stroke symptoms go on to have a major stroke within the following three months. Unfortunately, many people do not seek medical attention and thus are at a high risk of experiencing a stroke

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