Barnes-Jewish & Washington University
Stroke Center

Avoid Stroke: Reduce Stroke Risk Factors

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 .

Stroke Survivor Walks America

Mycle Brandy is walking across the United States to raise funds for stroke research and raise awareness of the role of exercise in stroke prevention and recovery. Recently, he took that message to Barnes-Jewish.


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