Risk factors

Your likelihood of stroke is determined by risk factors. Simple, small changes can make a big difference to your health.

Risk factors you cannot change

None of these factors mean that you will necessarily have a stroke, but it is useful to be aware if you are at increased risk so that you can take steps to live a healthier lifestyle.

Your sex

More men under 75 have strokes than women. But middle-aged women are more likely to have a stroke than men in the same age group.

Your age

Most people who have strokes are aged over 55, and the risk increases as you get older.

Your ethnicity

Although we don’t yet know why, people of South Asian, African or African-Caribbean origin are more likely to have a stroke than the rest of the population.

Risk factors you can change

Some factors may increase the risk of stroke:

  • high blood pressure
  • raised cholesterol
  • smoking, alcohol consumption and recreational drug use
  • uncontrolled diabetes

Actions you can take

  • not smoking
  • engaging in regular exercise
  • reducing stress levels—some people find things like yoga and other strategies helpful
  • eating a healthy diet—this includes:
    • maintaining a healthy weight
    • decreasing saturated fat consumption
    • reducing salt intake
    • increasing intake of fruit and vegetables
    • increasing consumption of fish, especially oily fish
    • keeping alcohol consumption within safe limits

Contact Information

Stroke Coordinator
Stroke Team
T: 020 3315 5269

Nell Gwynne Ward
4th Floor, Lift Bank B
T: 020 3315 8431/2

TIA Services
Medical Day Unit

Ground Floor, Lift Bank D
T: 020 3315 3265

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
369 Fulham Road
SW10 9NH


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