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Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School
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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

10 steps to lower stroke risk, from the August 2013 Harvard Heart Letter

More than two dozen factors influence the odds of having a stroke. Some can't be changed, like getting older or having a family history of stroke. But a surprising number of these factors can be controlled, even when an underlying medical condition further ups the risk of stroke, reports the August 2013 Harvard Heart Letter.

"Stroke is potentially one of the most devastating illnesses that we see, and it's especially tragic when simply taking good care of one's blood pressure or some other preventive measure might have averted it," says Dr. Thomas Lee, MD, co-editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter.

There are two basic categories of stroke risk: lifestyle risks and medical risks. Among smokers, that habit is by far the most important lifestyle risk. Nothing will do more to prevent a stroke than quitting. Other lifestyle changes that can help cut stroke risk are:

  • losing weight if needed
  • consuming alcohol only in moderation
  • cutting back on sodium (salt)
  • exercising

Several underlying medical conditions can increase the odds of having a stroke. These include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Controlling these conditions can also reduce stroke risk.

Read the full-length article: "How to lower your stroke risk"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Heart Letter

  • "Low salt" still the dietary rule
  • Ask the doctor: Adding Plavix to Coumadin
  • Ask the doctor: The trouble with the body mass index
  • Ask the doctor: Is warfarin plus aspirin safe?
  • How to lower your stroke risk
  • Shortness of breath: A common reason for calling the doctor
  • Too much sitting linked to heart attack and stroke-even if active
  • What's more important than your life span? Your health span
  • Don't stop taking a medication if you experience an unpleasant reaction
  • Heart beat: Dietary vitamin E and heart failure
  • Heart beat: Thick air, thick arteries
  • Heart beat: Stroke: Every minute counts

More Harvard Health News »

About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.