Reduce Your Risk
Modifiable Risk Factors
These are the most common risk factors for stroke that can be reduced by medical intervention and/or lifestyle changes:
- High Blood Pressure
- Tobacco Use
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Carotid or Other Artery Disease
- Atrial Fibrillation or Other Heart Disease
- History of TIA's or "Mini Strokes"
- High Red Blood Cell Count
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Physical Inactivity
- Excessive Weight
- Excessive Alcohol Intake
- Use of Some Illegal Drugs
- Age - A person of any age can have a stroke, however the risk for stroke increases with age. Two-thirds of all strokes occur in people over 65 years old.
- Sex - The stroke risk for men is 1.25 times that for women. But men do not live as long as women, so men are usually younger when they have their strokes and therefore have a higher rate of survival than women. Some risk factors for stroke apply only to women. Primary among these are pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. These risk factors are tied to hormonal fluctuations and changes that affect a woman in different stages of life.
- Race - The risk for stroke varies among different ethnic and racial groups. The incidence of stroke among African-Americans is almost double that of white Americans, and twice as many African-Americans who have a stroke die from the event compared to white Americans. Asian-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have stroke incidence and mortality rates more similar to those of white Americans.
- Family History - Stroke seems to run in some families. Several factors might contribute to familial stroke risk. Members of a family might have a genetic tendency for stroke risk factors, such as an inherited predisposition for hypertension or diabetes. The influence of a common lifestyle among family members could also contribute to familial stroke.
Unchangeable Risk Factors
These are the most common risk factors for stroke that cannot be reduced by medical intervention and/or lifestyle changes. If you have one or more of these risk factors, it is especially important that you monitor and reduce your modifiable risk factors.