There are factors that can increase your risk for stroke.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
This is the most common cause of stroke.
High Cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.
Uncontrolled Diabetes
2 out of 3 people with diabetes die from stroke or heart disease.
Smoking / Tobacco Use
Smoking doubles the risk of stroke. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for stroke, as the combination of nicotine and carbon dioxide wreaks havoc on the cardiovascular system.
Obesity / Excessive Weight
Excess weight makes people more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes – all of which can increase your risk for stroke.
Previous Stroke or TIA
If you’ve had a stroke, you are at much higher risk of having another one. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) also is a strong risk factor and predictor of stroke.

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will automatically have a stroke. But because your stroke risk is higher, it’s even more important that you ask your doctor about changes you can make to prevent a stroke.

Know the signs and symptoms of stroke
Get high blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" because it contributes to many heart attacks and strokes and usually has no symptoms. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than normal, which makes both the heart and arteries more prone to injury. See your family doctor to discuss what treatment options are appropriate for you.

Know your cholesterol numbers
Keep them under control. Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance in your body. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. See your family doctor to discuss appropriate treatment options.

If you have diabetes, get your diabetes under control
Whether with medication or diet and exercise, work with your family doctor and your dietitian to create your plan of treatment. Diabetes is controllable, but having it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Stop smoking
Smoking raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. Smoking reduces oxygen in the blood and makes clots more likely to form. Constant exposure to other people’s tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) increases your risk, even if you don’t smoke.

Lose weight
If you have too much fat, especially in the waist, you are at higher risk for health problems. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Include exercise in your daily activity
Regular physical activity helps reduce your risk of stroke. You can gain health benefits from doing moderate-intensity physical activity for a total of 30 minutes or more a day on most days.

Information courtesy of the National Stroke Association.