What is your risk of having a stroke?
Each year approximately 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke. About 600,000 of these are first attacks and 185,000 are recurrant attacks. Although nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over age 65, strokes can and do occur at any age. This chart can help you assess your risk:
Add up your total points in each column to calculate your risk of a stroke.
- High Risk = 3 or more points from the red column
- Moderate Risk = 4-6 points from the yellow column
- Low Risk = 6-8 points from the green column
Ways to lower your stroke risk
Most of the risk factors in the chart above can be controlled or even eliminated. To help prevent a stroke and improve your overall health you can:
- Stop smoking. Quitting now will dramatically improve your health both now and in the future. It will lower your risk of having a stroke, as well as lower your risk of many other serious medical conditions. To get help quitting, talk to your doctor or call this free, confidential phone line: 1-888-567-TRUTH (1-888-567-8788). The Spanish language line is 1-877-629-1585. Read more about how to successfully quit: Quitting Tobacco: Your Journey to Freedom.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This will help you control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes — and lower your chance of heart disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how to lose weight safely, slowly, and permanently. You can also check out our LiVe Well Center to learn more about what a healthy weight is and how you can reach it.
- Exercise. Physical activity protects your heart, brain, and bones. Exercising makes you stronger, gives you more energy, and helps you cope with daily stress. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. The 30 minutes can be broken up throughout your day. Some simple ways to get some exercising in: take the stairs instead of an elevator, park at the end of parking lots, walk the dog, etc. Our LiVe Well Center offers a list of classes administered by healthcare professionals that can help you exercise safely.
- Visit your doctor regularly. Your doctor can check for "silent" risk factors like high blood pressure and help you properly manage any chronic illness such as diabetes.