Healthy Living

What Are the Risk Factors for Stroke?


What Are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

A stroke is caused by an insufficient flow of blood to the brain as a result of an interruption of blood flow. This will usually result in oxygen deprivation to the brain tissues. How quick you recover from a stroke depends on how fast you get medical attention. Remember, a massive stroke is fatal. However, with proper medication, you can recover from a stroke.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 800,000 Americans are affected by stroke each year. This can be traced to the following risk factors:

1. Family history

If one of your family members like your mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, brother, or sister has ever suffered a stroke, your risk of getting a stroke is high.

2. Gender

Stroke is more prevalent in men than women. However, stroke is more deadly in women than men. This can be attributed to the fact that women tend to live longer than men. It is also important to note that the risk of getting stroke can be triggered by birth control pills as well as pregnancy.

3. Race

If you belong to these specific group of people, your chances of getting stroke are higher. However, other risk factors also play a vital role in the occurrence of stroke.

  • The Native Americans
  • The Hispanics
  • People of Asian origin
  • The African-Americans

4. Lifestyle factors

Certain lifestyle habits can increase the chances of getting a stroke. They include:

  • Excessive smoking
  • Poor diet that lacks essential food nutrients
  • Not doing enough physical exercises
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Drug abuse

5. Medications & medical conditions

Blood thinners or anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin), Xarelto, and Eliquis increase the risk of women getting stroke. In addition, pregnant women have a higher risk of getting a stroke. The following medical conditions can also increase a woman's risk of getting a stroke:

  • Heart and vascular-related complications
  • Diabetes
  • History of stroke/mini-stroke
  • High levels of cholesterol in the body
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Certain metabolic syndromes
  • Migraine
  • Anemia such as the sickle cell disease
  • Conditions that lead to hypercoagulable state
  • Platelet disorders and hemophilia
  • Aneurysms and vascular abnormalities of the brain
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Brain tumors 

6. Age

People who are over 65 of age are highly susceptible to stroke than the youth. However, the following can accelerate the occurrence of stroke in younger people:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Obese or overweight
  • Excessive smoking

Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are at risk of getting a stroke, it is important that you see your doctor for advice. He/she will use the following methods to diagnose stroke:

Physical examination

Your doctor will conduct physical examinations to establish if your face, arms, and legs are weak, if you easily gets confused, have difficulty in speaking, or if you experience vision impairments.


Your doctor can also perform more of the following tests to confirm the type of stroke you are suffering from:

  • Brain CT test
  • Computerized tomography angiogram (CTA)
  • Blood tests
  • MRI 
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) tests
  • Carotid angiogram 
  • Electrocardiogram 
  • Carotid ultrasound 
  • Echocardiogram 

All these tests will help your doctor determine your status as far as the management and treatment of stroke is concerned. Remember, the early you treat stroke, the better.

Key Takeaways

  • The Native Americans
  • The Hispanics
  • People of Asian origin
  • The African-Americans