Are strokes hereditary?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My Father passed away from a sudden massive stroke 3 years ago. I have high blood pressure and would like to know if strokes are hereditary.

Expert Answer

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

A predisposition to strokes can be hereditary, but there is no reason to think that you are destined to have a stroke.

High blood pressure is probably the most important risk factor for having a stroke, both the clotting type of stroke, and the bleeding type of stroke.  I am not sure which one of these your father had, but his misfortune could save your life if you realize the potential problem, and get it treated aggressively.  Do not let high blood pressure go untreated for long.  There are many affordable medication choices that can effectively lower your blood pressure and lower your risk of stroke.

I think it would be worthwhile for you to have a discussion with your physician regarding the circumstances of your father's stroke, so that you can tailor an appropriate medical regimen and help prevent yourself from having a stroke.