Reduce your risk of…

Reducing your risk of strokes

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Clinical level

Reducing the risk of strokes or TIA (Transient ischaemic attack) information on this page applies not only to people who have never had a stroke or TIA  but can also help people who already have had a stroke or TIA lower their risk of having a future stroke or TIA.

Diagnosing atrial fibrillation is possible for anyone to do with a quick pulse check and this is explained further below. As suggested by the Arrhythmia Alliance: “If pulse checks are routine thousands of lives could be saved and thousands of debilitating strokes could be prevented every year.”
“Know Your Pulse.” From the Arrhythmia Alliance. Retrieved 24th January 2024.

how common

From the Stroke Association
“100,000 people have strokes each year in the UK”  Stroke statistics Stroke statistics | Stroke Association

risk factors

From the NHS 


The NHS website set outs some simple lifestyle changes to lower your risk of stroke

From NHS choices

Importantly as the NHS points out, in addition to supporting someone who has never had a stroke:
“If you have already had a stroke, making these changes can help reduce your risk of having another stroke in the future.”
“Stroke Prevention.” From the NHS website. Retrieved 24th January 2024

There is self-care advice and also self-referral information with excellent local support to support lifestyle changes in reducing your risk of stroke and transient ischaemic attacks. These are all included here:

Why is it important to diagnose atrial fibrillation early

As the NHS suggests
“Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.” Atrial Fibrillation Atrial fibrillation – NHS

“It is estimated that in 2016, around 1.4 million people in England were living with AF. Of these 425,000 were estimated to be undiagnosed and untreated.”
Prevalence Background information Atrial Fibrillation.” NICE website. Retrieved 15th February 2023

From the Atrial Fibrillation Association 

  • “Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance encountered by doctors. “
  • “It can affect adults of any age, but it is more common as people get older. In the over 65-year-old age group, it affects about 10% of people.”
  • “One of the major problems associated with AF is that it greatly increases a person’s risk of stroke. The good news is that the incidence of AF-related strokes can be reduced with effective anticoagulant therapy – drugs that reduce the tendency of the blood to clot and so lowering the risk of stroke.”
    Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Atrial Fibrillation Association website. Retrieved 15th February 2023

Atrial fibrillation is often picked up because of symptoms but as the NHS points out
Some people with atrial fibrillation, particularly older people, do not have any symptoms.

How can you pick out if you might have atrial fibrillation if you do not have any symptoms?

The “Know Your Pulse” campaign
“If pulse checks were routine, thousands of lives could be saved every year, through the prevention of AF-related stroke.” AF association Know Your Pulse – Arrhythmia Alliance – UK 


Takes only 30 seconds without any equipment to check your pulse
Includes simple short video on how to take your pulse and detect if irregular and/or fast Know Your Pulse – Arrhythmia Alliance – UK

Helpline from the Arrhythmia Alliance
Get in Touch: Do you have a question? Would like more information? Just want to talk? Please call or email us today. Contact – Arrhythmia Alliance – UK

From the NHS
Checking your pulse Atrial fibrillation – Diagnosis – NHS

If you think you might have atrial fibrillation, see your GP.

Further information

For more information on atrial fibrillation see under

Diagnosing new raised blood pressure (not on any treatment)

From the NHS
What is blood pressure? What is blood pressure? – NHS

How can you check your blood pressure?

Many pharmacies can take your blood pressure, or perform cholesterol and blood sugar testing.
From the NHS: How your pharmacy can help – NHS

You may be entitled to an NHS Health Check see under

Many patients are also now buying their own blood pressure machine as suggested by the British Heart foundation

Check what your blood pressure readings mean and if any action is required

If you take your blood pressure at home or with your local pharmacy you can also check what your blood pressure reading means and get information what to do next

From the NHS
Check your blood pressure reading Check your blood pressure reading – NHS

If your Blood pressure is high your GP can manage this with you, so it is controlled, reducing your risk of a stroke.

Diagnosing diabetes

You can check if you have diabetes and what your cholesterol is with a blood test, as part of an

If you wish to have a diabetes blood test separate to an NHS health check this can be done through your GP practice.

Even if you do not have any blood tests you can reduce your risk of diabetes, see under

Diagnosing high cholesterol

You can check if you have diabetes and what your cholesterol is with a blood test, as part of an

If you wish to have a cholesterol blood test separate to an NHS health check this can be done through your GP practice.

Even if you do not have any blood tests, you can improve your cholesterol, see question “How can cholesterol be lowered with a healthy diet?” in frequently asked questions under


There are a number of possible underlying medical conditions including

  • Established cardiovascular disease (Heart related disease)
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Previous Strokes or TIAs

What are the risk factors for stroke and TIA?  Risk factors | Background information | Stroke and TIA | CKS | NICE

From the NHS 

There is more information about treatment of these underlying risk factors if relevant to you under


Further information on stroke and TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) can be found under

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