Some Medical Conditions Increase the Risk of Stroke
Anyone can have a stroke, although certain stroke risk factors increase the chance.
- High blood pressure (greater than 140/90 for people without diabetes or greater than 130/80 for people with diabetes)
- Cigarette smoking
- Diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar
- Heart disease and/or irregular heartbeat
- Sickle cell disease
- High cholesterol
- Obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity
Some stroke risk factors cannot be changed.
- Age – stroke risk doubles for every decade after age 55
- Family history of stroke in a parent, grandparent, sister or brother
- Previous stroke or TIA
- Sex – men have a higher risk at younger ages, while women have a higher risk over age 85
- Race/ethnicity – African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke than other races
Know Your Risk of Stroke
To understand your personal risk for a stroke, visit the National Stroke Association’s Stroke Risk Scorecard. Any elevated risks for stroke should be discussed with your doctor.
Stroke Prevention: Reduce Stroke Risk
According to the National Stroke Association, up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. To prevent stroke, start by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Additionally, it is important to stay on top of your stroke risk factors and manage them with your physician.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly
- Report any episodes of missed or irregular heartbeats
- Find out if you have high cholesterol
- Treat circulation problems such as blocked arteries, sickle cell disease and severe anemia
If you suspect stroke, call 9-1-1 to activate rapid response services and transport to a Stroke Network hospital.
To find out more about the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Stroke Center, call