Lifestyle risk factors of stroke

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Guidelines, the lifestyle risk factors of stroke include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excess abdominal weight
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor eating habits
  • Binge drinking or exceeding thirty alcoholic drinks a month
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as atrial fibrillation
  • Psychological factors such as stress or depression
  • Blood fat ratio – apolipoprotein (Apo B) to apolipoprotein (Apo Al)
  • Air pollution
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Sickle cell disease

Two kinds of stoke are most common. An ischemic stroke occurs when the artery that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked, with resultant neurological deficits. A hemorrhagic or bleeding stroke occurs when an unhealthy vessel in the brain ruptures.

All of the lifestyle factors above are connected with a higher incidence of ischemic stroke, whereas elevated blood pressure may be related to an increased chance of a bleeding stroke. These risk factors of stroke may also be related with the risk of suffering a myocardial infarction or heart attack.

You can significantly lower your risk of stroke with specific intervention programs that involve:

  • anticoagulant drugs
  • monitoring and controlling blood pressure
  • stopping cigarette smoking
  • following a healthy diet
  • following an exercise regime

The key here will be implementing the positive health changes to get desired results.


  1. [Guideline] Goldstein LB, Bushnell CD, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the Primary Prevention of Stroke. A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2010 Dec

Last reviewed 24/Feb/2017

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