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Risk Factors of Stroke

Several factors may increase your risk for stroke. Know these factors and take the steps necessary to decrease your risk.

  • High Blood Pressure: It's the #1 cause of stroke. Regularly monitor your blood pressure and always take prescribed medication.
  • Diabetes: Control your diabetes with proper diet, exercise and medication.
  • Obesity: Being just 20 pounds overweight significantly increases your risk of a stroke or heart disease.
  • Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of stroke by two to three times.
  • Mini-strokes (TIAs or transient ischemic attacks): When stroke symptoms such as confusion, slurred speech or loss of balance appear and disappear, call 9-1-1. You may be able to prevent a major stroke.

Determining Your Risk for Stroke

1 Have either of your parents, grandparents, or any one of your siblings or cousins had a stroke? Yes No
2 Are you 65 or older? Yes No
3 Do you have diabetes? Yes No
4 Do you have more than 6 alcoholic drinks a week? Yes No
5 Do you have high blood pressure? Yes No
6 Do you smoke? Yes No
7 Do you have high cholesterol? Yes No
8 Do you exercise fewer than 3 times a week? Yes No
9 Are you more than 20% over your ideal weight? Yes No
10 Have you experienced dizziness or blurred vision? Yes No

If you answered "yes" to more than one question, then your risk of stroke is increased. Talk to your doctor about these risk factors and ways to reduce them. 

Reduce your risk for stroke

Your risk for stroke may be reduced through:

  • Diet
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Reduced alcohol intake
  • Increased exercise
  • Regular visits to your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.