High blood pressure is the #1 modifiable risk factor for preventing stroke. This is because hypertension damages and weakens arteries in the brain. High blood pressure is also the most common cause of heart attack and heart failure.
Studies have shown a relation between blood sugar and minerals; the higher the blood sugar, the more calcium and the less magnesium there is within living cells (Barbagallo 1994). High calcium in the cells, makes the cells of blood vessel walls constrict more readily, causing high blood pressure. Many studies have shown a beneficial effect of taking magnesium supplements for high blood pressure. Improving the diet to consist mainly of animal protein and fats with occasional fresh fruit and vegetables will improve the blood sugar, calcium and magnesium levels and improve high blood pressure.
The 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three researchers for their work on the nitric oxide pathway. It has been learned that the cells which line the arteries produce nitric oxide from the amino acid, arginine. Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax, reducing hypertension, and can repair damage to the lining of the vessels including atherosclerotic plaque if arginine is taken in high enough doses. Studies at Stanford University have shown that a combination of arginine and citrulline can improve hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
Eating a diet free of high fructose corn syrup, sucrose and hydrogenated oils will help forestall cardiovascular disease. The single best predictor of heart attacks is the triglyceride/HDL ratio > 2 so ask your physician to measure these two and divide the triglycerides by your HDL for this ratio. This ratio will probably improve by following the Atkin's diet.