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Risk factors for stroke

​​​​​​​​​​A stroke can strike men or women at any age.

However, there are certain risk factors that increase the possibility of a stroke.

Some of the risk factors are specific to women, while others affect both men and women.

Marshfield Clinic Stroke Specialists used advanced techniques to diagnose and treat all forms of stroke.

What Are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

Certain health and lifestyle issues—called risk factors—increase your chances of having a stroke. The leading risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure.

But there are many other factors that also put you at risk. This page helps you identify which risk factors you have.

That way, you know where you need to make healthy changes. Talk to your health care provider about ways to help reduce your risk factors.

What are your risk factors?

Risk factors are different for each person. Check next to the factors that apply to you. Keep in mind that some factors, such as your age, can’t be changed. But others CAN be managed.

Health risk factors

_______ You have high blood pressure.

_______ You’re overweight.

_______ You have unhealthy cholesterol levels.

_______ You have atrial fibrillation.

_______ You have atrial flutter.

_______ You’ve had a heart attack.

_______ You have narrowed arteries.

_______ You have diabetes.

_______ You are a man.

_______ You are an African-American, Alaska Native, or American Indian.

Lifestyle risk factors

_______ You rarely exercise.

_______ You often eat salty, fried, or greasy foods.

_______ You smoke.

_______ You have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day.

Age and family history

_______ You’re over age 60.

_______ A parent, brother, or sister has had a stroke.

Metabolic syndrome raises risk

Any of the factors above puts you at increased risk of stroke. But having 3 or more of certain risk factors (a condition called metabolic syndrome) multiplies your risk.

These factors include too much weight around your waist, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. If you're a woman, your risks may also include polycystic ovary syndrome.

If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to talk to your health care provider about how to decrease your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.

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 Stroke Video

How Much Do You Know About Stroke?

Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

1. What is another name for a stroke?
2. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
3. Which of these is a symptom of stroke?
4. Which of these lifestyle factors plays the biggest role in increasing the risk for stroke in younger adults?
5. If a person has an ischemic stroke, how quickly should the person be treated to minimize long-term problems?
6. Which type of medicine is given to help prevent a stroke?
7. Which of these may be a long-term problem after a stroke?