October 24, 2014
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Stroke Risk Reduction

Stroke Risk Reduction Health Home >> Stroke Risk Reduction 

How likely am I to have a stroke?

You may be wondering "Am I at risk for a stroke?" Find out by learning about stroke risk factors (things that increase your stroke risk).

Stroke risk factors you can't control

Some stroke risk factors cannot be controlled:

  • age: Strokes can happen at any age but are more common after 65.
  • gender: Men have a higher risk of stroke, while women's stroke risk goes up after menopause.
  • family history: Your stroke risk is higher if a close family member such as a parent, sibling, or child has had a stroke before age 65.
  • ethnic background: Strokes are more common in people of First Nations, African, or South Asian ancestry.
  • personal history of a stroke or TIA : People who have already suffered a stroke have a 20% chance of having another stroke in the next 2 years.

If you have some of these risk factors, don't be discouraged! Now that you know you are at risk, focus on the risk factors you can control.

Talk to your doctor to find out if you're at risk for a stroke, and what you can do to reduce your risk.

To find out your risk of having a stroke in the next 10 years, use the stroke risk assessment calculator.

Stroke risk factors you can control

There are many stroke risk factors that you can control:

Lifestyle factors:

  • being overweight (use the body mass index [BMI] calculator to see if you are overweight)
  • eating an unhealthy diet (low in fruits and vegetables and high in fat and sodium)
  • not getting enough exercise (this applies only to people whose doctor has given them approval to exercise. For these people, current guidelines recommend 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on 4 to 7 days of the week. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or becoming more physically active)
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day or 10 drinks per week for women or more than 3 drinks per day or 15 drinks per week for men)
  • stress

Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you reduce your stroke risk.

Medical conditions:

Getting these medical conditions under control can go a long way toward reducing the risk of a stroke.

Some people may have other risk factors for stroke. Talk to your doctor to find out if you're at risk of a stroke, and what you can do to reduce your risk.

To find out your risk of a stroke in the next 10 years, use the stroke risk assessment calculator.

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