Risk Factors for Stroke
Factors That Can Be Modified or Changed
- Irritates and narrows blood vessels which can narrow blood vessel and decrease blood flow
- Contributes to the build up of arterial plaque
- Raises heart rate and blood pressure which can place extra pressure on weakened blood vessel walls
Risk Factors Specific to Women
- History of preeclampsia
- Oral contraceptive use
- Migraine with aura (visual disturbances)
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is common during and after menopause
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIA)—Sometimes referred to as mini-strokes, TIAs occur when a blood flow is temporarily reduced by narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that supply the brain. The situation usually corrects itself within 24 hours. TIAs are serious and often serve as a warning for a future major stroke.
- Brain aneurysm —An outpouching of a blood vessel wall in the brain that form in areas where the artery wall is weak or thin. The bulging, blood-filled pocket can put pressure on parts of the brain, or in some cases, burst.
- Ateriovenous malformations (AVM)—A rare condition marked by abnormal connections that occur between arteries and veins. Instead of an artery supplying an area of the brain with blood, it is connected directly to a vein that takes it away, bypassing the brain tissue that needs it.
- Vasculitis —Inflammation of the blood vessels. Inflammation over time may damage blood vessels, which in turn may bleed or burst.
- Silent stroke —Brain tissue damage found incidentally during imaging tests may indicate areas where previous strokes occurred. Silent strokes can be a warning for future stroke.
- Previous heart attack or stroke
Factors That Cannot Be Changed
Controllable risk factors—tobacco use & smoking. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Smoking. Accessed June 12, 2014.
Esse K, Fossati-Bellani M, et al. Epidemic of illicit drug use, mechanisms of action/addiction and stroke as a health hazard. Brain Behav. 2011;1(1):44-54.
Furie KL, Kasner SE, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42(1):227-276. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2010/10/21/STR.0b013e3181f7d043.full.pdf. Accessed June 16, 2014.
Risk factors for stroke or transient ischemic attack. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 12, 2014.
Who is at risk for a stroke? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/stroke/atrisk.html. Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed June 12, 2014.
12/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Farquhar C, Marjoribanks J, Lethaby A, Suckling J, Lamberts Q. Long term hormone therapy for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;CD004143.
10/23/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Lin HJ, Lee BC, Ho YL, et al. Postprandial glucose improves the risk prediction of cardiovascular death beyond the metabolic syndrome in the nondiabetic population. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:1721-1726.
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Myint PK, Cleark AB, et al. Bone mineral density and incidence of stroke: European prospective investigation into cancer-norfolk population-based study, systemic review, and meta-analysis. Stroke. 2014 Feb;45(2):373-82.
6/2/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Imfeld P, Bodmer M, et al. Risk of incident stroke in patients with Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia. Neurology. 2013 Sep 3;81(10):910-919.
6/18/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bushnell C, McCullough LD, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in women: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014;45(5):1545-1588. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2014/02/06/01.str.0000442009.06663.48.full.pdf. Accessed June 19, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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