The role of blood lipids as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease remains uncertain. In the present prospective study, 202 patients admitted with stroke to a community hospital in Jerusalem were evaluated. All patients had a full clinical and neurological evaluation, and a risk factor analysis. The study protocol included routine blood evaluation, fasting blood lipid analysis, brain imaging, 2D echocardiography and carotid Doppler ultrasonography. Stroke risk factors were correlated to stroke types as defined by the modified NINCDS Stroke Data Bank Criteria. Lacunar and atherosclerotic ischaemic infarctions were the most frequent type of stroke in both sexes. Lipid values were in general lower in males than in females. Comparison of stroke patients to age and sex matched controls disclosed lower LDL-C values in male and female patients (p less than 0.001), and lower cholesterol levels in women with strokes than in control subjects (p less than 0.001). Our study corroborates previously reported risk factors for stroke: hypertension (major risk factor in both sexes), smoking (more prevalent in males) and diabetes (more frequent in females).