Stroke Risk Factors- Knowing What You Can’t Control

Although researchers believe 80 percent of all strokes are preventable, there are still some risk factors folks just aren’t going to be able to control no matter how much exercise they get or how many vegetables they eat.

“We can’t control Father Time,” said Molly Griffis, the TMC stroke program coordinator. “We can’t control our past. We can’t control our genes.”

“There are some people who can do all the right things – and they’re still going to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”

Managing the risk factors people can control is vitally important, said Griffis, but being fully aware of the ones we can’t change is equally as important.

Here are a few to consider:

1)  Age. For every decade of life after 55, the chance of having a stroke more than doubles.

2)  Genetics. Your risk of stroke is greater if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke.  If possible, it is very important to know your family history.

3)  Race. African-Americans, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are at a greater risk compared to people of other ethnicities.

4)  Past history of heart attack or stroke, including transient ischemic attacks (commonly known as a “mini-stroke” that could be deemed “Warning Strokes.”) People with a past history of stroke, TIA, or heart attack have a 9 times greater risk of having another stroke and are twice as likely to have a heart attack.


  1. A report in the journal Stroke states that people eating lots of potassium rich foods have a reduced risk of stroke. The report says that for each 1,000-milligram (mg) increase in daily potassium, the odds of suffering a stroke in the next five to 14 years declined by 11 percent. Time to up the fruit and vegetables!

Leave a Reply

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
%d bloggers like this: