A quivering heart
The stroke risk: With a condition called atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the top two chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver instead of contracting fully.
That can allow blood to pool and clump in the atria, increasing the risk of clots that could break loose, travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Reduce it: Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major cause of atrial fibrillation, so bringing blood pressure down can help lower stroke risk from AFib.
Blood-thinning medications, or anticoagulants, can also reduce risks specifically from AFib.
“All medications have pluses and minuses, but a general plus for newer anticoagulants is that they tend to be safer than older drugs in terms of bleeding complications,” Dr. Goldstein says.