Elevated blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and cigarette smoking
are the most important risk factors for heart attack and stroke. The risk of stroke can
be decreased by adopting a healthy lifestyle, and if needed, medical therapy such as
antihypertensive drugs to help avoid the hazards of atherosclerosis and high blood
By reducing blood pressure to a normal range, the risk of a stroke can be
reduced by about 50% and the risk of a heart attack by 20%. Since there is no single condition that is associated with all of the increased risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease, the best strategy is to follow the guidance of
the Lifestyle Checklist and simultaneously address multiple risk factors. Those that
can be modified so as to decrease stroke risk include smoking, diet, high blood cholesterol,
high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, alcohol, stress, and lack of exercise.
Avoiding abuse of substances such as cocaine, methamphetamines, various forms
of marijuana, and the use of energy, weight-loss, and a variety of other dietary supplements
is also important to decrease the risk of stroke.
Preventive measures to avoid a stroke from an arterial dissection (a tear) include
the use of proper protective gear and avoiding falls when participating in sports,
caution with yoga moves, and caution with chiropractic manipulations. People
who have frequent headaches, or migraine headaches, especially those who have
an aura, should have their headaches evaluated by their health provider and avoid
the use of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives and any other drug that might
increase the propensity for blood clots.
Among the several interventions to decrease the risk of stroke, controlling blood
pressure is the most critical. In general, the lower blood pressure is, the healthier
one’s cardiovascular system is, and the lower the risk of stroke and heart attack
is. Although a blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg or lower is considered a normal
blood pressure, most but not all epidemiological studies and clinical trials suggest
that cardiovascular risk increases in a linear fashion at any level of blood pressure
above of 110/70 mm Hg.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel