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Risk Factors for Stroke

Certain health and lifestyle issues—called risk factors—increase your chances of having a stroke. The biggest risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. But there are many other factors that also put you at risk. The list below can help you identify which risk factors you have. That way, you know where you need to make healthy changes. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to help reduce your risk factors.

What are your risk factors?

Risk factors are different for each person. Check off the factors that apply to you. Keep in mind that some factors, such as your age, can’t be changed. But others can be managed.

Health risk factors

_______ You have high blood pressure.

_______ You’re overweight.

_______ You have unhealthy cholesterol levels.

_______ You have atrial fibrillation.

_______ You have atrial flutter.

_______ You’ve had a heart attack.

_______ You have narrowed arteries.

_______ You have diabetes.

_______ You are a man.

_______ You are an African American.

_______ You are an Alaska Native.

_______ You are an American Indian.

Lifestyle risk factors

_______ You rarely exercise.

_______ You often eat salty, fried, or greasy foods.

_______ You smoke.

_______ You have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day.

Age and family history

_______ You’re over age 60.

_______ A parent, brother, or sister has had a stroke.

Metabolic syndrome

Any of the factors above may put you at increased risk for stroke. But having 3 or more of 5 certain risk factors raises your risk more. This is a condition called metabolic syndrome. These factors include:

  • Too much weight around your waist (or apple shaped body)

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood sugar

  • Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol levels

  • High levels of triglycerides

If you're a woman, your risks may also include polycystic ovary syndrome.

If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to talk with your provider about how to decrease your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.

Online Medical Reviewer: Deepak Sudheendra MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2024
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