Risk factors you cannot change

While there are some risk factors for stroke  and heart disease you can do something about, there are others that you cannot change. The major risk factors that you cannot change are:


The older you are, the higher your risk of stroke.


Your risk of heart disease and stroke increases after menopause. 

Family and Medical History

If you have a close relative who has experienced heart disease, stroke or TIA (Transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke)  at an early age, you are at an increased risk. In addition, women who have had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy have an increased risk.

*close relative means a parent or a sibling.

Indigenous Heritage

First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples have a higher risk for stroke and heart disease than the general population. This is because they are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. Both conditions can cause a stroke or heart disease.

African and South Asian Heritage

People of African or South Asian heritage have a higher risk of heart disease & stroke.  This is because they are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease at a younger age.

Personal circumstances

Personal circumstances and environmental factors have an influence on your health. This includes things such as access to healthy food, safe drinking water, health services and social services.

Related information

Women’s unique risk factors

Learn about other risk factors for heart disease

Learn how to live a healthier lifestyle.