Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 700,000 Americans have a stroke each year, and approximately 25% of strokes are recurrent. Fifteen percent to 30% of patients who survive a stroke have permanent disabilities.
Stroke risk factors can be divided into 2 categories: nonmodifiable and modifiable. Nonmodifiable risk factors include age >55 years, heredity (family history of stroke), race (African American), gender (male), and previous history (stroke, transient ischemic attack, or heart attack). Understanding nonmodifiable risk factors is important, because these are the patients who have the most to gain from working on controlling modifiable risk factors.
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