Risk Factors That Cannot Be Modified
Increasing Age – The older one gets, the greater the chance of having a stroke. This is due to the hardening of the arteries as one grows older. The chance of having a stroke more than doubles for each decade of life after age 55.
Gender – In most age groups, men tend to have more strokes in a given year than women. However, women who are pregnant, those who are taking birth control pills and who also smoke or have high blood pressure and other risk factors will also have higher risk for stroke.
Heredity and Race – Stroke risk is higher in those with family history of stroke and also among African Americans. The stroke risk in African Americans may be due to other risk factors such as the tendency to have high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Diabetes Mellitus – Diabetes Mellitus is now defined as a fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher. Pre-Diabetes which is a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Diabetes need is common and need to be monitored closely. Diabetes is treatable, however the presence of the disease still increases ones’ risk for stroke.
Prior Stroke, TIA or Heart Attack – The risk of stroke for someone who already had a prior stroke, TIA (mini stroke) or heart attack is many times higher than that of a person who has not.