Cardiovascular disease and stroke are the leading causes of death among women, and one in five women will have a stroke. However, a large majority of strokes can be prevented by managing your stroke risk with tips from the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure and Your Weight.
Know your blood pressure and keep it in a healthy range. High blood pressure is the No. 1 preventable cause of stroke. Have your blood pressure measured at least once per year by a health care professional and regularly monitor it at home. Then, discuss the numbers with a doctor. A normal blood pressure should be 120/80 mm HG or less. Maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, eat healthfully, and reduce or eliminat alcohol and tobacco usage. If you do develop high blood pressure, work with a health care professional on a plan to help manage it.

Plan for Pregnancy.
High blood pressure during pregnancy is becoming more common, according to the CDC, and medical conditions including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and blood clots during pregnancy increase stroke risk during, and immediately following, a pregnancy. Managing high blood pressure before getting pregnant helps keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy and beyond. If you’re planning to become pregnant or are currently pregnant, regularly monitor your blood pressure.

Take Care of Your Mental Health
Some stress is unavoidable, but constant stress is not healthy and may lead to high blood pressure and other unhealthy behavior choices, increasing the risk for stroke. According to the American Psychological Association, the top sources of stress are money, work, family responsibilities, and health concerns. Managing your stress can improve your overall health and well-being. Reclaim control of your schedule and build in time to invest in your health. Find 10 minutes daily to do something for you, like listening to music, meditating, or going for a walk.

Learn the Warning Signs
A stroke can happen to anyone at any point in life. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death. Learn how to spot a stroke F.A.S.T:

  • Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue.”
  • Time to call 911 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Talk to your doctor about ways to improve your well-being and help prevent stroke. Find more wellness tips at