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Risk Factors for Stroke

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

What Are Your Risk Factors?

Risk factors are different for each person. Check the boxes 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, Alaska Native, or 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 Raises Risk

Any of the factors above puts you at increased risk of stroke. But having 3 or more of certain risk factors (a condition called metabolic syndrome) multiplies your risk. These factors include too much weight around your waist, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. 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 to your health care provider.


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