Frequently Asked Questions

8. What are the risk factors for stroke?

A risk factor is a condition or behavior that increases your chances of getting a disease. Having a risk factor for stroke doesn't mean you'll have a stroke. On the other hand, not having a risk factor doesn't mean you'll avoid a stroke. But your risk of stroke grows as the number and severity of risk factors increase.

Risk factors for stroke include ones that you cannot control and ones that you can control.

Some of the risk factors that you cannot control include

  • Age. Although stroke can occur at any age, the risk of stroke doubles for each decade between the ages of 55 and 85.
  • Gender. Men have a higher risk for stroke, but more women die from stroke. Men generally do not live as long as women, so men are usually younger when they have their strokes and therefore have a higher rate of survival.
  • Race. The risk of stroke is higher among African-American and Hispanic Americans.
  • Family History. Family history of stroke increases your risk.

The risk factors for stroke that you CAN control include

  • high blood pressure
  • cigarette smoking
  • diabetes
  • high blood cholesterol
  • heart disease.

Experiencing warning signs and having a history of stroke are also risk factors for stroke.