9 out of 10 strokes are preventable and there is huge potential for reducing strokes if the risk factors are better detected, treated and managed. Our stroke prevention policies detail what needs to be done to reduce the number of strokes across the UK. 
Many behaviours such as smoking, drinking alcohol or being physically inactive can increase your risk of stroke, along with having high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, or being an unhealthy weight.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause the formation of blood clots. It's a risk factor for around 1 in 5 strokes and can result in more severe strokes, leading to higher mortality and/or greater disability.


High blood pressure, or hypertension, contributes to around half of all strokes, making it one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. However, evidence shows that taking action to lower blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk it poses to health.

Environmental impacts

Short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can increase the risk of developing hypertension one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. It is also estimated that air pollution is responsible for 14% of all stroke-related deaths and around 11,000 deaths from heart attack or stroke in the UK annually.


Lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, and exercise levels can have a significant effect on your stroke risk. A low-fat, high-fibre diet, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrains, is healthy, especially when combined with regular exercise.

Secondary prevention

After a stroke, factors such as obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, and exercise levels have a clear impact on a person’s likelihood of having another stroke. Certain interventions and changes to lifestyle can lower a person’s risk of secondary stroke.

Campaign with us

We are the force for change. By listening to and working with people affected by stroke, we can drive improvements in stroke prevention.