Risk of stroke is influenced by a number of factors. The more risk factors you have the higher your chance of having a stroke. There are some risk factors you cannot do anything about. These include:

  • Age, as the older you get the greater your risk of stroke
  • Gender, as stroke is more common in men
  • A family history of stroke
  • Previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

However, there a number of risk factors for stroke or further stroke you can do something about. These are the modifiable risk factors and they include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular pulse (atrial fibrillation or AF)
  • High cholesterol  
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking  
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive alcohol intake.

There are six steps you can take to reduce the risk and the danger of stroke:

  1. Make sure your blood pressure, blood cholesterol or diabetes is well managed
  2. Be physically active and exercise regularly
  3. Avoid being overweight by keeping to a healthy diet
  4. Limit alcohol consumption
  5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now
  6. Learn to recognise the warning signs of a stroke and act FAST.

The FAST test is an easy way to remember and recognise the signs of stroke.

Stroke is always a medical emergency. Call 000 immediately, even if the symptoms don’t cause pain or go away quickly. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke related brain damage. Emergency medical treatment soon after stroke symptoms begin improves the chances of survival and successful rehabilitation.

Some things increase the chances of having a stroke.

Some of these things you can’t do anything about.

Things you can’t do anything about

These are things like:
  • getting older
  • being a man – strokes happen to men more often than women
  • someone in your family has had a stroke
  • you have already had a stroke

Things you can do

There are some things that you can do something about.

These are:
  • high blood pressure
  • problems with your heartbeat (atrial fibrillation)
  • high cholesterol 
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • not eating right
  • not getting enough exercise
  • being overweight
  • drinking too much alcohol. 

Take action now

You can make it less likely you will have a stroke.

There are six things you can do right now:
  1. Talk to your doctor about blood pressure, blood cholesterol and diabetes.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Lose weight and eat a healthy diet.
  4. Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Learn to recognise the warning signs of a stroke and act FAST.

The FAST test

The FAST test helps you remember the signs of stroke.

Stroke is always an emergency.

Call 000 immediately.

Get help FAST.

This can improve your chance of getting better.

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