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Risk Factors for Stroke

woman getting her blood pressure checked  

Risk of stroke varies among individuals. Your heredity and other factors beyond your control may put you at increased risk. These risks include:

  • Age – while you can have a stroke at any age, your risk doubles each decade after age 55.
  • Gender – while men and women both have strokes, men are 19 percent more likely to suffer a stroke.
  • Race – while people of all races have strokes, African Americans have a higher risk, especially with associate high blood pressure.
  • Prior stroke – once you have had a stroke, your future risk is increased.
  • Heredity – if family members have had a stroke, your risk is higher.

Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce Risks
You can, however, make positive changes in your lifestyle that will significantly reduce your personal risk. The following is a list of factors that you, with your physician’s help, may be able to minimize.

  • Control your blood pressure
    Have your blood pressure checked often, and if it is elevated, follow your doctor’s advice on how to lower it.
  • Stop smoking
    Smoking is the biggest risk factor for vascular disease.
  • Exercise regularly
    Exercise helps control weight and may make the heart stronger and improve circulation. Just 30 minutes per day at least three days per week is a great start.
  • Eat a healthy diet
    Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and eat foods low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Control diabetes
    If untreated, diabetes can damage the blood vessels throughout the body.

For More Information
podcasts Video: Stroke
video Animation: Stroke Treatment
risk assessment Ask the Expert about stroke

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