"We have a huge opportunity to improve how we prevent new strokes, because risk factors that can be changed or controlled, especially high blood pressure account for 90 percent of strokes," said lead study author James Meschia from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Making lifestyle changes such as getting more physical activity, eating a healthy diet and managing your weight can prevent pre hypertension from becoming high blood pressure, the researchers suggested.

The researchers warned that smoking and taking oral birth control pills can significantly increase your stroke risk.

"If you are a woman who experiences migraines, smoking raises your risk of stroke even more than in the general population," the study noted.

Avoiding secondhand smoke also lowers stroke and heart attack risks.

"In many instances, stroke is not fatal, but it leads to years of physical, emotional and mental impairment that could be avoided," Meschia stressed.

The study appeared in the journal Stroke.

 

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