Bethesda Hospital East

Stroke Risk


Are you or someone you know at risk?

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death following heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and accidents (unintentional injuries). About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means, on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females. In 2010, worldwide prevalence of stroke was 33 million, with 16.9 million people having a first stroke. African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than Caucasians and a much higher death rate from stroke. Despite these alarming statistics, more than 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented, according to the National Stroke Association.

Although some risk factors for stroke such as age, gender, race and family history of stroke are beyond your control, certain lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the risk of stroke. The following affect your likelihood of having a stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol 
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Smoking 
  • Having more than two alcoholic beverages a day