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Risk Factors & Prevention

Some stroke risk factors are hereditary. Some are things that can be managed or controlled. And others result from lifestyle choices. Work with your physician to cope with the ones you can.

  • High Blood Pressure. The leading cause of stroke and the most important controllable risk factor, lowering your blood pressure can significantly reduce your risk of stroke. Many believe the effective treatment of high blood pressure is a key reason for the accelerated decline in the death rates of stroke.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Use. Smoking and secondhand smoke are both important risk factors.
  • Diabetes. Control your diabetes through proper diet, exercise medication and weight control.
  • Physical Inactivity. Regular exercise can help to improve your overall health.
  • Obesity. Being overweight can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Reports show that genetics, or heredity, almost doubles the risk of ischemic stroke. Many experts believe that stroke is most often caused by a dangerous combination of genetics and environmental factors, such as those above. The CHI St. Joseph Health Stroke Center is committed to identifying risk factors and educating our patients on the best ways to avoid vascular disease and reduce the risk of stroke.

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