Understanding Factors That May Lead to a TIA
Men are at higher risk than women for a TIA.
Being African American
TIAs are more common in African Americans than in any ethnic or other racial group in the United States.
Having a Family History of TIA
If your father, mother, brother, or sister has had a TIA or stroke, you are more likely to have one of these conditions also. Several factors might contribute to the familial TIA risk. Members of a family might have a genetic tendency for TIA risk factors, such as an inherited risk for high blood pressure or diabetes. The influence of a common lifestyle among family members could also contribute to familial TIA.
Personal History of TIA or Heart Attack
People who have had a TIA or heart attack in the past are at significantly increased risk for a TIA compared to a person without such a medical history.
TIA Risk Factors That You Can Change or ControlSome of the most important treatable or controllable risk factors for TIA are:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Certain other heart diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea
- Heavy consumption of alcohol
- Drug abuse.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is by far the most potent risk factor for a TIA or stroke. For example, people with high blood pressure have a risk for stroke that is four to six times higher than the risk for those without high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is high, you and your doctor will need to work out an individual strategy to lower it.
(Click Effects of High Blood Pressure for more information on the possible damage that can occur from long-term high blood pressure. You can also visit Lowering Blood Pressure to learn how to decrease blood pressure.)