Ways to Raise Your Risk of Stroke

Here's what scientists are finding are top risks for a stroke: 

Being single

A study of more than 10,000 men found that those who were married at midlife were 64 percent less likely to die of a stroke during the next 34 years than single men. The marriage has to be a happy one; men who reported dissatisfying marriages were just as likely as single men to die of a stroke.

Being unhappy

Among older individuals, positive moods and attitudes protect against strokes. Even incremental increases in happiness help.

Being obese

More weight means a higher risk of stroke. In fact, the risk of stroke in people with the highest body mass index (BMI) was 1.43 to 2.12 times higher.

Smoking

Lighting up nearly doubles your risk of stroke.  Fortunately, quitting can drop that risk back down.

Being a born-and-bred Southerner

The swath of stroke-prone states across the Southeastern United States -- generally including North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama  -- have long been known as the "Stroke Belt." Recent research suggests that just being born and spending your childhood in one of these states raises your risk for stroke, even if you move away later.

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