Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. Stroke occurs more commonly in the older age groups and among people who have already had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Stroke risk factors
The chance of stroke is increased by a number of things that are called stroke risk factors. Some factors cannot be changed. These include: age (the older a person gets, the greater the risk for stroke), gender (men are at greater risk), race (African Americans are at greater risk), family history and prior strokes or TIAs.
Other risk factors can be modified through treatment or lifestyle changes. Examples of these include: high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol intake.
Lowering your risk
- Have regular checkups with your doctor to check for stroke risk factors
- Take part in a stroke screening
- Make sure to treat high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes if you have any of these conditions
- Have your cholesterol and lipid levels measured
- Stop smoking
- Become physically active
- Limit your alcohol intake