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What Increases Your Risk

A risk factor is anything that makes you more likely to have a particular health problem. Risk factors for stroke that you can treat or change include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Diabetes.
  • Smoking.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Heavy use of alcohol.
  • Being overweight.
  • Physical inactivity.

Risk factors you cannot change include:

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  • Age. The risk of stroke increases with age.
  • Race. African Americans, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives have a higher risk than those of other races.
  • Gender. Women have a higher risk of having a stroke in their lifetime compared to men. In people ages 55 to 75, about 2 out of 10 women will have a stroke and 1 or 2 out of 10 men will have a stroke.
  • Family history. The risk for stroke is greater if a parent, brother, or sister has had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
  • History of stroke or TIA.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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