Certain health and lifestyle issues—called risk factors—increase your chances of having a stroke. The biggest risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. But there are many other factors that also put you at risk. The below list can help you identify which risk factors you have. That way, you know where you need to make healthy changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help reduce your risk factors.
What are your risk factors?
Risk factors are different for each person. Check off 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.
_______ You are an Alaska Native.
_______ You are an 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.
Any of the factors above puts you at increased risk of stroke. But having 3 or more of certain risk factors multiplies your risk. This is a condition called metabolic syndrome. 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 healthcare provider about how to decrease your risk of stroke and improve your overall health.