Stroke Home > Stroke Risk Factors

There are certain factors that can increase a person's chances of having a stroke. Risk factors include some things you cannot change, such as having a family history of stroke. However, there are many other risk factors you do have some control over, such as high blood pressure and smoking. By minimizing or eliminating risk factors, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a stroke.

An Overview of the Risk Factors for Stroke

Risk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your chances of getting a certain condition or disease. Some risk factors for stroke can be treated or controlled, while others cannot; also, the more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of developing stroke. That's because risk factors tend to "gang up" and worsen each other's effects. Finally, the higher your level of each risk factor, the greater your risk of having a stroke.
 
We will now look at some risk factors that you cannot change followed by risk factors that can be treated or controlled.
 

Stroke Risk Factors That You Cannot Change

Stroke risk factors that you cannot change include:
 
  • Growing older (the risk of stroke tends to increase with age)
  • Being male (however, women are more likely than men to die from a stroke)
  • Being African American
  • Having a family history of stroke
  • Having a history of a stroke, TIA, or heart attack.
     
Growing Older
The risk of stroke tends to increase with age. However, it is a myth that strokes only happen in older adults. While strokes are more common in older adults, strokes can occur in all age groups, in both sexes, and in all races in every country. Strokes can even occur before birth, when the fetus is still in the womb.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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