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Condition risk factors

Some medical conditions increase the risk of stroke, but you can manage them with medication, treatment and making healthy choices.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) can weaken your artery walls, increasing your chances of a stroke.  If you keep your blood pressure below target levels, you can lower your risk of stroke by 30-40%.  Learn how to manage high blood pressure.


High blood cholesterol can lead to a buildup of plaque in the artery walls (atherosclerosis).  The plaque makes it harder for blood to flow through your body, putting you at increased risk of stroke.  Learn how to manage high cholesterol.


Diabetes can affect your blood vessels and in turn increase blood pressure.  Diabetes also increases the chance of plaque forming in your blood vessels.  Learn more about diabetes.


Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) is an irregular heart rhythm.  It can cause small clots to form in your heart and travel to your brain.  It increases your risk of ischemic stroke three to five times.  Learn how to manage atrial fibrillation.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition that can cause your breathing to stop and start many times while you sleep.  There is a strong link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure and stroke.  Even short pauses in breathing while you sleep are hard on the heart because they lower the amount of oxygen reaching the heart.

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