stroke care

Stroke Risk Factors

Understand if you are at higher risk of stroke

The carotid arteries are large blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. The brain gets all the nutrients and oxygen it needs to function from these arteries.

That means your brain depends on these arteries to be healthy. Damaged carotid arteries greatly increase your risk of stroke.

Risk factors are certain lifestyle and health issues that increase your chances of having a stroke. Because stroke is common within our community, it is important you are aware of these factors so that you know if you are at risk. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor, but there are many other factors that also put you at risk for stroke.

Identify your risk factors

Risk factors are different for each person. Some factors, such as your age, cannot be changed, while others can be managed. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to make healthy changes to help reduce your risk factors.

You may be at higher risk of stroke if:

  • You're overweight
  • You have diabetes
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You've had a heart attack
  • You have atrial fibrillation
  • You have unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • You have narrowed arteries
  • You smoke
  • You often eat salty, fried or greasy foods
  • You rarely exercise
  • You have more than two alcoholic drinks per day
  • You are over 60 years old
  • A parent, sister or brother has had a stroke

Any of the factors above put you at increased risk of stroke. If you have three or more of certain risk factors, also known as a condition called metabolic syndrome, your risk is multiplied.

Please be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Too much weight around your waist
  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels