Stroke Awareness Month – Risk Factors

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There are many factors that go into whether or not you will have a stroke. The following list of risk factors, increased risk factors, and additional risk factors comes directly from the CDC (the Center for Disease Control).​

  • Race/ethnicity. African Americans have almost two times the risk of white people of having a first stroke. Hispanic Americans and American Indian/Alaska Natives are at greater risk than whites are for having a stroke but are at less risk than African Americans. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to die after having a stroke.
  • Age. Stroke risk increases with age. Three-quarters of strokes occur in people ages 65 and older.
  • Geography. The highest U.S. death rates from stroke occur in the southeastern United States.
  • Gender. Men are more likely than women to have a stroke.

Certain lifestyle factors and conditions also increase the risk for stroke. The most important of these include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease (such as atrial fibrillation)
  • Previous stroke or transient ischemic attack
  • Cigarette smoking

Additional risk factors include:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Overweight or obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Family history of stroke
  • Drug abuse
  • Genetic conditions, such as blood-clotting or vascular disorders (for example, Factor V Leiden or CADASIL)
  • Certain medications (such as hormonal birth control pills)
  • Being pregnant
  • Menopause

Lesser risk factors include:

  • Head and neck injuries
  • Recent viral or bacterial infections