Common Controllable Risk Factors for Stroke

  • High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for stroke.
  • Atrial Fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation (or A-fib) is the result of the upper chambers of the heart beating incorrectly, which can allow blood to pool and form a clot that can travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
  • Nicotine Use: Nicotine use can cause damage to the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk for stroke. The use of birth control pills combined with nicotine use further increases the risk for stroke.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke. It is important to control your blood sugar. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increasing the risk for stroke.
  • High Blood Cholesterol: High blood cholesterol is the result of large amounts of cholesterol building up in blood vessels. High cholesterol may cause clots leading to a stroke.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight and obesity are linked with other health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Diet: A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol can raise cholesterol levels and increase blood pressure, increasing the risk for stroke.
  • Physical Inactivity: Physical inactivity can increase a person’s risk for stroke, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Aim to be active for 30 minutes each day.
Stroke Risk Quiz