Anyone can have a stroke — no matter your age, race, or gender. But the chances of having a stroke increase if an individual has certain risk factors. The good news is that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from stroke is to understand personal risk and how to manage it.
There are two types of risk factors for stroke: controllable and uncontrollable. Controllable risk factors generally fall into two categories: lifestyle risk factors or medical risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors can often be changed; medical risk factors can usually be treated. Both types can be managed best by working with a doctor, who can prescribe medications and advise on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Uncontrollable risk factors include being over age 55, being male, being African American, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander, or having a family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack.
Take an interactive “stroke risk scorecard” test at www.stroke.org.
CONTROLLABLE MEDICAL RISK FACTORS
• High blood pressure
• Atrial fibrillation
• High cholesterol
• Circulation problems
CONTROLLABLE LIFESTYLE RISK FACTORS
• Tobacco use and smoking
• Alcohol use
• Physical inactivity
Source: National Stroke Association, 2014