What You Can and Can't Control When It Comes to Strokes
Know the Risk FactorsStroke prevention begins by knowing the risk factors for stroke. Risk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your chances of getting a certain disease. Some stroke risk factors can be treated or controlled and some cannot. Also, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of having a stroke.
Stroke risk factors that you cannot change include:
- Age (the risk of stroke tends to increase with age)
- Gender (men have a higher risk of stroke; however, women are more likely to die from a stroke)
- Being African American
- Having a family history of stroke
- Having a history of a stroke, TIA, or heart attack.
Risk factors for stroke that you can control include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Certain heart diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea.
There are also things that you can control that increase your risk for developing a number of these diseases. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Unhealthy diet.
(Click Stroke Risk Factors for more information about traits, conditions, and other factors that may increase a person's chances of having a stroke.)