Mayo Clinic Minute: Preventing stroke

A stroke happens every 40 seconds in the U.S., and the likelihood of stroke increases with age, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Preventing a stroke is a crucial aspect of healthcare, as about 80% of all strokes are preventable. The focus is on managing risk factors to reduce the long-term risk of stroke.

A stroke results from a blocked or torn blood vessel that decreases blood flow to the brain. In the U.S., stroke is a leading cause of death and disability.

“Because about 80% of all strokes are preventable, we really focus on prevention,” says Dr. Stephen English, a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

Preventing stroke risks

Tips for lowering stroke risk include maintaining blood pressure under 130/80 and keeping cholesterol and blood glucose at appropriate levels.

“(Other modifiable risks include) things like smoking cessation, treatment of sleep apnea with a CPAP device, and some other potential treatments,” English said.

There are risk factors for stroke that cannot be changed. These include age, sex, race and family history.