Your Family History
If your parents have had strokes, you could have an inherited risk factor. You can also inherit the genetic tendency to have high blood pressure or obesity. Your race could also be a factor; African Americans have more instances of high blood pressure. Likewise, Hispanics are also at greater risk of stroke.
Know your family history, and share it with your doctor to be on the lookout for warning signs.
Long life is a gift; however, it also comes with a number of health-related risks, and your chances of having a stroke naturally increase with age. You can manage your risks for developing heart disease by maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. Talk to your healthcare team (your doctors, nurses, etc.) about ways you can fight the aging process.
Statistics tell us men are more likely to have strokes, but have a higher survival rate than women. Your doctor is the best source of information to custom tailor a stroke prevention plan for your individual health history, gender, age, and family history.
Your Previous Stroke
Once you’ve had your first stroke, your chance of having another are increased – especially within the first three months. However, with proper medical care and healthy lifestyle choices, you can work with your doctors to limit your risks of having a second stroke. If your first stroke was clot-related (ischemic), ask your doctor about whether an aspirin regimen is right for you.
Your Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)
A TIA is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain, and are commonly referred to as “mini-strokes.” They may produce stroke-like symptoms, but generally have no long-term effects. Fortunately, the blockage is temporary, but these are a warning sign that your body may have the blood vessel blockages in place that could cause an actual stroke in the future. If you have had a TIA, work with your doctor to manage the root cause of the problem to head off a stroke later down the road.
Your Coronary Heart Disease
If you have coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or atrial fibrillation (also called AFib, or AF), you're at greater risk for developing blood clots that can lead to a stroke. Your arteries are also part of your cardiovascular system, and artery diseases can lead to arterial damage. The large carotid artery in your neck supplies most of the blood to your brain, so if it becomes blocked by plaque buildup, it can lead to a stroke. But even tiny arteries in your brain can get blocked or burst, so have frequent talks with your heart specialist about how all these risks can be minimized.