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Stroke Risk Factors

High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes. The following also increase risk for stroke:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Increasing age

Certain medications, including birth control pills, make blood clots more likely, and therefore can increase chances for a stroke.

Hemorrhagic Stroke Risks

The following can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (stroke caused by bleeding in the brain):

  • Alcohol use
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Cocaine use

What About Age and Gender?

While the risk of stroke increases with age, a stroke can occur at any age, and nearly a quarter of strokes occur in people under the age of 65. Stroke is also not just a "man's disease." Although most women are more worried about getting breast cancer than they are about a stroke, twice as many women die of stroke than of breast cancer every year. During middle age, men are more likely to have a stroke than women, but the gender ratio reverses for people 85 and older, when women are more likely to experience a stroke.




  • Balance

    Is the person losing his/her coordination or balance?

  • Eyes

    Is the person having trouble seeing out of one or both eyes?

  • Face

    Does the face look uneven or drift down?

  • Arm

    Does one arm drift down?

  • Speech

    Does the person's speech sound strange?

  • Time

    If you observe any of these signs, it is time
    to call 9-1-1. 

The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better the chances of recovery.

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