Maine Cardiovascular Health Program

Stroke Risk Factors

Some stroke risks cannot be controlled: family history, increasing age, ethnicity and having had a TIA (mini-stroke) in the past. Other risk factors can be controlled.

Stroke Risks You Can Prevent or Control:

  • Being overweight or obese
    To reduce the risk: Eat healthy. Limit portion sizes, eat more fruits and vegetables, and be physically active.
  • Tobacco use
    To reduce risk: Stop using tobacco products! Call the Maine Tobacco HelpLine at 1-800-207-1230
  • Not being physically active
    To reduce risk: Get more active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Find a walking route near you at
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
    • Get your blood pressure check at least every two years since there are no symptoms. Talk with your health care provider to see if you should have it checked more often.
    • Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If it's high, work with your health care provider to control it.
    • If you have diabetes, your treatment goal is to stay below 130/80.
  • Having other health conditions
    • Diabetes
    • High Cholesterol
    • Carotid artery disease (hardening of the arteries in the neck)
    • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)

To reduce the risks: Visit your health care provider regularly. Ask about lifestyle changes and medications that can help reduce your stroke risk. If you take any medications, be sure to take them as directed.