As with most things in life, a little awareness can go a long way. This is especially true when it comes to your health. “It may not get as much attention as other serious diseases, but stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the primary cause of serious long-term disability for Americans,” said Larry Tran, M.D., a board-certified neurologist with the Neuroscience & Spine Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. 

A stroke occurs when blood flow in the brain is interrupted and brain cells die. There are two main types of stroke: 

• An ischemic stroke results when an artery in the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot 
• A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel in the brain that bursts
It’s not just older adults who are at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of strokes occur in people under the age of 65. So no matter your age, it’s never too early to learn what you can do to prevent stroke. 

High blood pressure:  The condition weakens and narrows blood vessels in the brain and increases stroke risk by two to four times. “To lower your risk, exercise regularly, eat a healthy, low-sodium diet and take blood pressure medication as prescribed to help maintain a healthy blood pressure,” said Tran.

Obesity:  “Due to its strong association with other conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, reduce your risk by cutting your calorie intake, limiting foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, and increasing physical activity,” Tran said.

Smoking: The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage your cells, thicken your blood and increase the plaque in your arteries, increasing the likelihood of blood clots. “The more you smoke, the greater your risk,” warned Tran. “Counseling, nicotine patches and/or medicine can help you quit.”
To evaluate your risk with Dr. Larry Tran, or another specialist at our Neuroscience & Spine Center, call 281.274.7979 for a physician referral. Visit our Facebook page at for the latest news, events and information.


Join us at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center to learn how your brain and heart are connected. Neurologist Dr. Larry Tran and cardiologist Dr. B. Keith Ellis will discuss stroke and heart attack risk factors, symptoms and prevention. Registration is required.  Register online at or call 281.274.7500.