Stroke Risk Factors

Stroke is dangerous and deadly — the No. 5 killer and a leading cause of disability in America. But you can control and treat several risk factors for stroke.

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During February, we recognize the legacy of Black Americans who laid the foundation for the activists, health care professionals, social entrepreneurs and everyday heroes — and celebrate Black Americans who are making history every day.

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Risk Factors

Stroke Risk Factors You Can Control, Treat and Improve

Doctor in consultation with male patient

Keep your stroke risks low with regular checkups and treatment for these conditions if you have them.

Stroke Risk Factors That Are Not Within Your Control

You can't control some risk factors, but knowing that they exist may help motivate you to work harder on the ones you can change.

Additional Factors That May Be Linked to Higher Stroke Risks

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Whether your risks are related to changeable factors or are primarily outside of your control, you can benefit your heart and your brain with healthy lifestyle choices.

Managing Risky Conditions  

Atherosclerosis 

Illustration of Atherosclerosis

Atrial Fibrillation 

Illustration of a heart

High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

Social Determinants of Health and Risk Factors

The Urgent Need for Health Equity

Everyone has an optimal, just opportunity to be healthy. But this is not the reality for many people of color and others whose health suffers because of social factors beyond their control. People suffer when they lack access to quality care, nutritious food and other basic health needs


Mounting 'social determinants' could magnify stroke risk

The cumulative effect of several social factors can more than double the risk of stroke in people under 75, according to new research that examined the impact of living in a poor or rural area, having low education or income level, lacking health insurance or being Black.

Environment, culture, other social determinants play big role in heart health

Social determinants of health are factors that influence where and how people live, learn, work and play. They provide context to a person's life and can play just as big of a role in affecting health as medications and physical lifestyle changes.

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Stroke patients more likely to die in rural hospitals than in urban ones

Compared with stroke patients living in cities, researchers found those treated at rural hospitals were about half as likely to receive clot-busting medication; about one-third less likely to undergo a thrombectomy procedure to remove a stroke-causing clot; and more likely to die of any type of stroke before leaving the hospital (6.9% versus 5.8%).

Diabetes and Stroke

It’s important to understand the connection between diabetes and stroke, recognize the risk factors and take steps to stay healthy.

Uncommon Causes of Stroke

Most strokes are caused by conditions such as atrial fibrillation, hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. But there are less common causes as well.

Women face higher risk of stroke

Stroke in U.S. Women by the Numbers

  • One in 5 women will have a stroke.
  • About 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
  • Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in women.
  • Stroke kills over 80,000 women a year.

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Live Great – Ideas to help kids stay heart and brain health from the American Stroke Association and Dee-1

The American Stroke Association and rapper, Dee-1 want kids (and grownups) everywhere to focus on ways to be active and live longer, healthier lives.

Let's Talk About Stroke Resource Materials