Stroke Prevention

 Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. But 80% of strokes can be prevented if you know your risks and make healthy lifestyle choices. You may be at increased risk of stroke if you meet two or more of the following criteria:,

  • African American, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native heritage
  • Daily smoker
  • Family history of heart attack before age 55 for men, or age 65 for women
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Less than 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week
  • Overweight or obese
  • Personal history of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, abnormal heartbeat and/or diabetes

Schedule an appointment with a UNM doctor to determine your risk. We’ll evaluate your health history and help you reduce your risk of stroke.

Reduce Your Risk

While you may be at a higher risk due to genetics, there are risk factors you can control. Work with your UNM doctor to take charge of your health and control factors such as:

  • Atrial fibrillation—This irregular heartbeat condition can cause blood clots. See a doctor for blood clot medication.
  • Drinking alcohol—Cut back to less than two drinks per day to lower your blood pressure.
  • Drug use—Narcotics such as cocaine and meth increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This increases your risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Contact the UNM Behavioral Health Addiction and Substance Abuse Program for help quitting.
  • Smoking—Smoking cigarettes damages the heart and lungs. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free coaching and resources to quit tobacco.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes—Diabetes causes damage to blood vessels. Get help managing your diabetes through UNM Health’s diabetes education program.
  • Unhealthy diet—Diets high in fat, salt and sugar can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol. Meet with a doctor to see if you need cholesterol medication or help with weight loss.

Make an Appointment

To get referral information, ask your doctor to call 505-272-3160 or