Risk for stroke is based on heredity, medical factors, natural processes such as age, and lifestyle. Some risk factors for stroke can be changed or managed, while others that relate to hereditary or natural processes cannot be changed. 

High Blood Pressure

Often called the “silent killer,” high blood pressure has no symptoms. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high, is to have it checked. It’s recommended to have it checked at least every two years, and more often if there is a family history of high blood pressure.


Smoking puts people at a much higher risk for stroke. Even second hand smoke can make you more susceptible to stroke. Women who smoke and use birth control are at an even higher risk.

Conditions Leading to Stroke

Some diseases and conditions can put someone at risk for a stroke. These include:

  • Aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Diabetes
  • Carotid or other artery disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Sickle cell disease/sickle cell anemia
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity