Having a stroke can be fatal or cause serious permanent damage. So what are the risk factors for having a stroke? There are three groups of stroke risk factors as described by the Stroke Foundation and the more risk factors you have, the higher your chances of having a stroke.

Risk factors you CANNOT control:

  • Age – your risk increases as you get older
  • Gender – stroke is more common in men
  • Family history of stroke

Medical risk factors:

  • Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
  • Irregular pulse (Atrial Fibrillation)
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromuscular Dsyplasia (FMD)

Lifestyle risk factors that you CAN control:

  • High blood pressure – the most important risk factor known for stroke
  • High cholesterol  – recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown that one in three Australian adults have high total cholesterol. Read more here.
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • High alcohol consumption

It is important to manage any of the medical conditions that increase your chance of having a stroke. Making good lifestyle and health choices are where you can reduce your likelihood of having a stroke.

Here’s 7 ways to reduce your chance of having a stroke:

  1. Have your blood pressure checked
  2. See a dietitian to reduce your cholesterol levels
  3. QUIT smoking
  4. Lose some weight
  5. Improve your diet
  6. Exercise 30 minutes a day most days of the week
  7. Limit your alcohol consumption

Speak to your doctor or health professional now and start making the changes you need to live a long and healthy life!

Article written by Dr Melanie Woollam (Osteopath)


National Stroke Foundation: www.strokefoundation.com.au

Australian Bureau of Statistics