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You can't control these risk factors. But knowing what they are can help you understand your overall risk for stroke.
Having already had a stroke is the biggest risk factor for having another stroke.
For every decade after the age of 55, your stroke risk doubles.
If you consider all ages, men are more likely to have strokes than women. But between the ages of 45 and 64, women are more likely to have strokes than men. This is probably because blood pressure and cholesterol (koh-LESS-tur-ol) levels rise more quickly in women than men during this period.
Your risk of stroke increases after menopause.
African Americans are more likely to have a stroke than other people. This is partly because African Americans are more likely to have risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but may be related to family history or eating habits.
If stroke runs in your family, it may be because your family carries genes that increase your risk. An example would be a gene that makes your blood more likely to clot. Or it could be due to your family's lifestyle, such as a history of eating foods high in saturated fats.
Content last updated: February 01, 2009.