April 21, 2014
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Stroke Risk Reduction

Stroke Risk Reduction Health Home >> Stroke Risk Reduction 

How likely am I to have a stroke?

After a stroke, you have a 1 in 5 chance of another stroke in the next 2 years.After a TIA, you have a 1 in 8 chance of a stroke in the next 3 months.

These are general numbers, and your exact risk of stroke depends on your overall health, including your other stroke risk factors:

Stroke risk factors you can't control

If you have had a stroke, you're already at risk of having another stroke. But your risk may be even higher if you have other risk factors that can't 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.

If you have some of these risk factors, don't be discouraged! Now that you know you are at a higher risk, focus on reducing your risk by managing risk factors you can control.

Talk to your doctor to find out about your stroke risk and what you can do to reduce it.

Stroke risk factors you can control

There are many stroke risk factors that you can change or 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 sodium and saturated or trans fat)
  • 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.

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