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American Heart Association Lists Seven Ways to Limit Stroke Risk

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The American Heart Association put out a list this week of the seven health factors that can increase your risk of suffering a stroke.

Nearly 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke every year, making strokes the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, and a leading cause of disability.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 23,000 Americans age 45 and older and created a scoring system based on seven criteria. Those seven criteria were:

Manage blood pressure
Control cholesterol
Be physically active
Control blood sugar
Keep weight down
Eat a healthful diet (and)
Don't smoke.

Each patient was given a grade from zero to two in each of the above categories. For each point gained, a patient's stroke risk decreased by 8 percent. Patients with a total score of 10 or higher saw a 60 percent drop in their stroke risk. Comparatively, those with a score between five and nine were 40 percent likely to suffer a stroke than those with a score between zero and four.

According to the study, the most important factor in stroke prevention was having good blood pressure.

For Americans, regardless of race, a better score in the AHA's seven criteria was linked to a reduced risk of stroke.

However, blacks generally had worse overall scores, highlighting the added importance for black Americans to improve their scores in the "simple seven" factors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio