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Risk Factors for Stroke

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Risk factors

are characteristics that can increase your chance of stroke. Some risk factors cannot be changed.

  • Age — Although a stroke can occur at any age, your risk of stroke increases as you get older.
  • Gender — Although men have a slightly higher incidence of stroke, women are more likely to die of stroke than are men.
  • Family or individual history — Your risk of stroke is higher if a parent or sibling has had a stroke. Also, you are at higher risk if you have already had a stroke or transient ischemic attack, often called a “mini-stroke.”
  • Race — Blacks are at greater risk, partly due to a higher incidence of hypertension. Also, blacks can suffer strokes at an earlier age.

Other risk factors

can be controlled through screening, medicine or lifestyle changes.

  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use and exposure to
  • secondhand smoke
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity and poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart beat)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Excessive alcohol use

For more information, read Healthier habits reduce stroke risk factors