Stroke Risk Factors
It’s important to know your stroke risks. Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability – and the fourth leading cause of death – in the U.S.
Stroke can happen to anyone, but your chances of having a stroke are much higher if you have certain conditions or lifestyle factors.
Stroke risks that can be treated or controlled:
- Current smokers have two to four times higher stroke risk
- Increases brain damage from stroke because smoking weakens cerebrovascular system
- Stroke risk rises as weight increases
- High Blood Pressure
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure makes stroke much more likely
- 77 percent of those having first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90
- High Cholesterol
- High total cholesterol causes clogged arteries, a stroke risk
- Type 2 diabetes has higher risk of stroke
- Carotid artery disease
- May form stroke-producing clot
- Atrial fibrillation
- Erratic heart rhythm can create clot, cause stroke
- Sleep apnea
- Increases stroke risk two to four times, depending on apnea severity
- Common after stroke
Other stroke risks:
- More men have strokes, yet about 60 percent of stroke deaths occur in women
- Taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may increase women’s risk
- Stroke increases during and shortly after pregnancy, possibly due to high blood pressure
- African-Americans have higher risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity
- Sickle cell disease most important cause of stroke in black children
- Risk increases as you get older
- Ages 55 to 75—one in five women and one in six men have stroke
- Family history of stroke
- Your risk is higher if a close blood relative (parents, sister, brother, grandparents) had a stroke
- Previous heart attack, stroke or TIA
- Stroke risk increases greatly after having a first stroke
- TIA (transient ischemic attack) or “warning stroke” produces stroke symptoms without damage, needs immediate medical follow-up
- About 15 percent of strokes have TIA before
- Heart attack increases stroke risk
- Alcohol and drug abuse
Find out ways to manage stroke risk factors.
Learn your stroke risk with this quick stroke risk assessment.
For an appointment with a Neurosciences Institute specialist, call our Physician Referral Service, 215-481-MEDI (6334).