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10 Risk Factors and Warning Signs of a Stroke

Risk Factors for Stroke

  • Age: The chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, a lot of people under 65 also have strokes.
  • Heredity/Race: Your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke. African-Americans have a higher risk of death from a stroke than Caucasians.
  • Gender: Stroke is more common in men than in women, but more than half of total stroke deaths occur in women.
  • Health Conditions: Having high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or high blood cholesterol raise your risk of stroke.
  • Prior Stroke, TIA, or Heart Attack: The risk of stroke is many times greater for someone who has already had one. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage, and if you’ve had one or more TIAs, you’re 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t. If you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk of having a stroke, too.

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you, or someone near you should experience these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1.

Facts About Stroke

  • About 795,000 Americans each year have a stroke.
  • Stroke kills more than 137,000 people a year, making it the third leading cause of death, after diseases of the heart and cancer.
  • About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.

Source: American Stroke Association

Do you have any personal stories about suffering from stroke? How has it affected your life? Tell us below in the comments!

Photo: iStockphoto

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of “No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis,” a memoir. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Author’s Guild, and a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

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4:33AM PDT on May 29, 2013

Keep paying attention to our body

7:33AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:22AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

there are also "mini-strokes" that go undetected for years and then showed as dementia. my mum is one such case.

7:58AM PST on Dec 14, 2012


4:27PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Good information presented to be easily absorbed and remembered - thank you!

4:05PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Thanks for the information, but why did the race factors only list black and white people?

3:45AM PST on Dec 11, 2012

thank you

7:17PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Thanks good information.

8:47AM PST on Dec 9, 2012

I had a 2 TIA'S and i just turned 50. The first one I had in Feb and I was given medicine and I skipped a few times taking the pills and had another in the same place 6 months later. I now take my pills all the time. I did read 75% of strokes can be prevented so I feel I may live another 35 years.

12:02PM PST on Dec 7, 2012


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