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Medical Conditions that Increase Risk of Stroke

Stroke can strike anyone with little to no warning. Take, for example, Kate Allatt, a young mother who was running 70 miles a week at the time of her debilitating stroke. There are, however, medical conditions that are shown to increase the risk of stroke. Anyone with these conditions should be aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and should be prepared to make lifestyle adjustments to reduce their risk.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, greatly increases the risk of stroke. High blood pressure can weaken arteries throughout the body, making them more susceptible to damage. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is the leading cause of hemorrhagic strokes.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol levels are determined by diet, exercise and family history. High cholesterol levels can lead to the accumulation of plaque in blood vessels and is considered one of the largest risk factors for ischemic strokes and transient ischemic attacks.

Heart Disease

Common heart disorders can contribute greatly to an increased risk of stroke. Coronary Artery Disease can lead to the accumulation of plaque in crucial arteries. Other disorders, such as valve defects and atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of blood clots that could potentially cause an ischemic stroke.


A recent study found that persons with diabetes increased their risk of stroke by 3 percent every year. Another study indicated that individuals with diabetes are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Diabetes is often associated with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, two other prominent risk factors for stroke.

Overweight and Obesity

Being overweight increases the likelihood of several risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest risk factors to modify through lifestyle adjustments.

A Previous Stroke

Having a transient ischemic attack, or what is commonly known as a “mini-stroke,” is a strong indicator that a successive stroke is likely. If someone experiences the symptoms of a stroke for a short period of time, it is possible they have had a TIA and they should pursue medical attention immediately.

By: Kayleen Cohen, Stroke-Network.com

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"Be aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and be prepared to make lifestyle adjustments."
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