Uncontrollable Risk Factors
Age: Are you over age 55?
Sex: Are you male?
Family History: Does your family have a history of stroke?
Race: Are you of African American or Hispanic descent?
Previous TIA or Stroke: Have you already had a TIA or Stroke?
Answering "Yes" to any of these questions increases your risk of Stroke. Work with your physician to come up with a prevention plan that is right for you.
Controllable Risk Factors
Do you smoke? Smoking doubles your risk for stroke. It speeds up hardening of the arteries, increases the chance for blood clots and raises your blood pressure.
Personal History of Diabetes
Do you have diabetes? Diabetes can cause problems with your circulatory system. Diet and exercise can help you in controlling diabetes, but work with your physician to decide what is best for you.
Do you take more than two alcoholic drinks a day? Studies show that drinking in moderation - up to two drinks per day - may reduce your risk for stroke by almost half. However, drinking more than two drinks per day may increase your risk for stroke by as much as three times. Because alcohol is considered a drug and can interact with other medications you take, we recommend that you discuss drinking with your physician. Drinking alcohol can lead to other health related issues, if you do not drink, don't start.
Are you overweight? Excess weight puts a strain on the circulatory system. It also makes people more likely to have other stroke risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Excess weight can be reduced with changes in your diet and with exercise.
High Blood Pressure
Is your blood pressure consistently more than 135/85? Having high blood pressure makes you 4 to 6 times more likely to have a stroke. Blood pressure is the single most controllable risk factor yet it affects more than 50 million Americans. Blood pressure can be controlled with a combination of several different treatments:
- Losing weight
- Smoking cessation
- Low salt diet
- Working with your physician to take the proper medications