Managing Stroke Risks

Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable if you understand your personal risk and how to manage it. Certain medical conditions can increase your likelihood of having a stroke. So it’s important to know these stroke risk factors and work with your doctor to manage them in order to prevent a stroke.

UT Southwestern provides stroke prevention services for patients at every stage of health, from those who simply want to know their stroke risk to stroke victims who require treatment to avoid future attacks.

Our stroke neurologists can work with you and your primary care doctor or other specialists to help you take control of any conditions that increase your risk of stroke.

We see patients in our stroke clinic who have other cerebrovascular conditions such as brain aneurysms, brain vascular malformations, moyamoya, and carotid artery disease that can lead to a stroke. We also provide support for patients with other causes of stroke, such as cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure, or atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Risk Factors

There are two types of risk factors for stroke – those you can control, and those you can’t.

Controllable risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Physical inactivity
  • Overweight/obesity

Uncontrollable risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Family history
  • Previous stroke
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia (weakening of the artery walls)
  • Patent foramen ovale (hole in the heart)

The more risk factors you have, the greater your stroke risk. To manage your risks, eliminate the ones you can personally control, such as physical inactivity, obesity, and tobacco and alcohol use.

Managing these factors can help reduce some of the other risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. If you need medications to help control these risk factors, talk to your UT Southwestern doctor.

Atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, is a stroke risk factor that we can monitor using the smallest heart monitor available today, while treating the condition with medication or electrical stimulation to prevent it from causing a stroke.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a stroke risk specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas, or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.