Everyone has some risk of stroke and there are two types of risk factors. One type you can’t control, the other you can.

Stroke risk factors you can’t change include:

  • Your age; the older you are the higher your risk.
  • Being a man.
  • Being African American.
  • Someone in your family has had a stroke.

Having one or more of these factors does not mean you will have a stroke. By making simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to reduce the risk of a first or recurrent stroke.

These simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your chance of having a stroke:

  • Monitor your blood pressure; if it is high, make sure it is treated.
  • Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat that allows blood to pool in the heart and cause blood clots).
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Check your cholesterol levels and make sure bad cholesterol is controlled.
  • Manage your diabetes.
  • Exercise often.
  • Eat foods low in sodium (salt) and saturated or trans-fat.
  • Monitor circulation problems with the help of your doctor.

Stroke Facts:

  • Up to 80% of all strokes are preventable.
  • Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
  • 795,000 Americans suffer strokes each year.
  • Strokes are attributed to 144,000 deaths each year.
  • The United States has more than 6 million stroke survivors.
  • Strokes are the leading cause of disability.
  • Every 45 seconds, someone suffers a stroke.
  • More women than men die from strokes.
  • African Americans are twice as likely to die from strokes than Caucasians. Compared with white males 45 to 54 years old, African American males in the same age group have three times the risk of is chemic stroke (stroke caused by blood clot).
  • African Americans are affected by stroke more often than any other group.