It is a myth that stroke occurs only in older adults. A person of any age can have a stroke. But, stroke risk does increase with age. For every 10 years after the age of 55, the risk of stroke doubles, and two-thirds of all strokes occur in people over 65 years old. Stroke also seems to run in some families. Stroke risk doubles for a woman if someone in her immediate family (mom, dad, sister, or brother) has had a stroke.
Compared to white women, African-American women have more strokes and have a higher risk of disability
and death from stroke. This is partly because more African-American women have high blood pressure
, a major stroke risk factor. Women who smoke or who have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation
(a kind of irregular heart beat), heart disease
, or diabetes are more likely to have a stroke. Hormonal changes with pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause
are also linked to an increased risk of stroke.