Heart disease and stroke can sometimes go hand in hand. Both are leading causes of death in the United States, but in many cases,\u00a0both conditions are preventable.\nMany of the same healthy habits that lower your risk for heart problems can also lower your risk of stroke. Learn\u00a0about the link between heart health and brain health, your risk factors, and what you can do to keep your risk low.\nHeart attacks and strokes are preventable. Learn healthy habits to lower your risk! Click To Tweet\nWhat Is a Stroke?\nA stroke is a serious, potentially deadly medical emergency. During a stroke, blood flow is blocked to a part of your brain, which means your brain cells can’t get the oxygen they need. When this happens, your brain cells can become damaged or even die. There are two main types of stroke, including:\n\nIschemic, when an artery that brings blood to your brain becomes blocked, usually by plaque or a blood clot\nHemorrhagic, when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or bursts\n\nStroke Symptoms\nSome symptoms of stroke can include:\n\nSudden weakness\nNumbness on one side of the face, arm, or leg\nTrouble speaking\nLoss of vision, double vision, or trouble seeing in one eye\nDizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking\nSudden, severe headache\n\nIf you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 911 right away. It’s very important to get treatment as soon as possible.\nHow Are Heart Health and Brain Health Linked?\nHeart and brain health are linked by common risk factors, including:\n\nHaving high cholesterol\nHaving high blood pressure\nSmoking\nHaving diabetes\nNot getting regular physical activity\nBeing overweight or obese\n\nAnd, you may have a higher risk of stroke if you have:\n\nAtherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can make your blood vessels narrow or completely blocked by a hard substance called plaque.\nAtrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common kind of irregular heartbeat. With AFib, your heart can’t beat as effectively as it should, which can make it easier for blood to pool and clot.\nHeart failure, which happens when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.\n\n\u00a0\nHow to Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke\nIf you’re not sure where to start, talk with your doctor. Have a checkup so you can learn the basic facts about your health, like your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood sugar level. Your doctor will ask about your medical history, your family history, and your habits to find out if you’re at risk.\nThere’s a lot you can do to help keep your heart, blood vessels, and brain healthy, including:\n\nEating a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products\nLimiting the amount of salt, fat, and sugar you eat\nGetting regular physical activity\nQuitting smoking or using tobacco products\nFinding healthy ways to cope with stress\nKeeping an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar levels\n\nLimit your salt intake and eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to keep your #heart healthy! Click To Tweet\nTo learn more, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484)\u00a0and visit one of our heart screenings to gain more insight into your health.