A Solihull GP has warned against complacency about strokes, even though the West Midlands is one of the safer places in Britain.
The region came third in a league table of 'safe areas' compiled by the Stroke Association, with the north of England rated worst.
Researchers ranked areas by the main stroke risk factors - blood pressure, smoking and binge-drinking.
Smoking doubles the risk, as does inactivity, but high blood pressure can mean a person is seven times more likely to have a stroke.
Nearly 2,000 people were surveyed, but six out of ten were unaware of the link between high blood pressure and stroke.
Dr Brian Crichton, based at Hobs Moat, Solihull, admitted more needed to be done.
He said: "While it's gratifying to see the West Midlands is one of the safest places, there is still a major problem with public awareness of the risk factors.
"Most people think strokes only effect older people, but we are lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.
"Blood pressure, bingedrinking and smoking can radically increase a person's chances of suffering a stroke, but obesity and lack of exercise can also compound the problem.
"High blood pressure, anything about 140/90, is a major factor. The risk is increased by binge-drinking. Also the calories in alcohol can lead to weight gain and an increase in cholesterol, which affects blood pressure.
"Every day I talk to patients about the risks in their lifestyle choices relating to strokes. The level of public awareness is shocking."
The Stroke Association's survey revealed the safest location was the South-west, where the risk factors were below 25 per cent.
In the West Midlands figures were slightly higher - with 28 per cent of the population having high blood pressure.
John Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: "We are not surprised by the results in terms of lack of awareness about stroke, the factors which cause stroke and those which can prevent stroke."
* For more information visit www.stroke.org.uk.