Anyone can be at risk for stroke. While there are some risk factors you can’t control, up to 80% of strokes are preventable. Learn your risk and work with your doctor to manage them properly.
There are many stroke risk factors that you can change, but there are also some that you cannot. It’s important to understand them both to determine your overall risk of stroke.
Risk Factors You Cannot Change
- Age: The chance of stroke doubles for each decade of life after age 55.
- Family History: Your stroke risk is higher if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke.
- Gender: Stroke is more common in men than women. However women are more likely to die of a stroke.
- Geographic Location: Strokes are more common in the southeastern United States. North Carolina is one of three southeastern states with the highest death rates from stroke.
- Prior Stroke or Heart Attack: If you’ve already had a stroke, there’s a much greater risk that you’ll have another. You’re also at an increased risk for stroke if you’ve had a heart attack.
- Race: African-Americans have a higher risk of death from stroke. This is due to increased risks of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs): TIAs are “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms without lasting damage. If you’ve experienced a TIA you are 10x more likely to have a stroke than someone who has not.
Risk Factors You Can Change
- Alcohol Abuse
- Atrial Fibrillation: A heart rhythm disorder which causes the heart’s upper chambers to quiver instead of beating effectively. This can cause the blood to pool and clot, which can lead to a stroke.
- Carotid Disease: When a carotid artery narrowed by plaque buildups in artery walls becomes blocked by a blood clot.
- Cigarette Smoking: Smoking doubles the risk for stroke. A reduced stroke risk is just one of the many benefits of quitting smoking.
- Drug Abuse
- Heart Diseases: Coronary heart disease (heart failure), dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart), heart valve disease, and some types of congenital heart defects can also raise the risk of stroke.
- High Blood Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Peripheral Artery Disease: When plaque builds up in artery walls causing narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to leg and arm muscles.
- Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity: A poor diet can raise your blood cholesterol, increase your blood pressure, or cause obesity. All increase your risk of stroke.
- Sickle Cell Disease
Free Online Risk Screening
In just seven minutes you can find out if you’re at risk for stroke. The StrokeAware Online Risk Screening consists of a few simple questions. Once completed, you’ll be provided with a report of your risk factors and recommendations for improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If Stroke Aware shows that you are at risk, you can trust the highly skilled team at UNC REX Healthcare to help you through the next steps of our stroke screening program. You’ll be offered a free, confidential, follow-up screening and consultation.
The follow-up screening is held at REX Healthcare's Early Detection Center located throughout Wake County for your convenience. We offer locations at the REX Wellness Center of Cary, the REX Wellness Center of Garner, the REX Wellness Center of Knightdale, the REX Wellness Center of Wakefield, and at REX Hospital at 4420 Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh . After the screening, you will receive a confidential report.
If you choose to attend the follow-up screening at REX Hospital’s Early Detection Center, you can expect to:
- Meet with a clinician
- Have your blood pressure checked
- Have your height, weight and waist measured to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Have blood drawn for a fasting blood cholesterol and glucose test
Find out your stroke risk - take the StrokeAware Online Risk Screening now!