Risk Factors You Can Control
Over 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes let you take control of the risks you can.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is too high.
- Diabetes is a disease where the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use its insulin the way it should or both. People with diabetes have 2 to 4 times the risk of stroke.
- Cigarette smoking doubles the chance of a stroke. The risk lowers immediately after quitting.
- Poor diet. Foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol or sodium increase risk.
- Physical inactivity and obesity. Those who are physically inactive, obese or both increase their risk.
Risk Factor You Cannot Control
- Age. Strokes can occur at any age. Nearly one-quarter of them occur in people under the age of 65. An increasing number of people between the ages of 40 and 50 are having strokes.
- Gender. Men are more likely to have a stroke, but women are twice as likely to die from one.
- Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to pool and clot in the heart's upper chambers. If a clot breaks off and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results.
- Family history. A family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or vascular conditions may increase risk.
- Race. African Americans are 1.4 times more likely to die of stroke than Caucasians.
- Previous stroke, TIA or heart attack. A previous stroke or TIA (mini-stroke) increase the chance of another stroke by 25-40 percent.
- Heart disease or coronary artery disease can result in decreased or blocked blood flow and lead to a stroke or heart attack.