Learn how to protect yourself against a possible stroke by understanding the risk factors. Know that while some risk factors cannot be controlled, others can. Become aware of these risk factors and take action.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors
- Age. Stroke risk increases for those greater than age 55.
- Heredity. African-Americans are two times more likely than Caucasians of the same age to have a stroke.
- Gender. More women have strokes than men because women live longer, but men have strokes at a younger age then women.
- Medical history. If you have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a "mini-stroke," you are 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone who has not.
Controllable Risk Factors
- High blood pressure (the number one risk factor for stroke)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Obesity/being overweight
Stroke: What's Your Risk?
Do what you can to change the risk factors you can control.
- Take your medications as prescribed. This is especially true for heart, blood pressure, blood thinner and diabetes medications. If you can't afford your medications, let your doctor know.
- Keep your medical appointments.
- Monitor your health. Check your blood sugar if you are a diabetic. Check your blood pressure.
- Monitor your weight. Eat healthy and exercise.
- Know your cholesterol levels. If your LDL or "bad cholesterol" is elevated, then start a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and take medication if directed.
- If you smoke, quit! For smoking cessation help, call 717-231-8900.
- Get educated on stroke.