The effects of a stroke can be devastating, so it might be best to prevent it in the first place rather than treat it . There are certain factors that increase your risk of having a stroke. Check if you are at risk in this article.

Stroke is a type of cerebrovascular disease and the third most common cause of death after cancer. Every year, stroke affects more than 15 million people of all ages. Of these, more than 5 million of them die. Why is stroke so dangerous?

Stroke – what is it?

We speak of a stroke when blood suddenly stops flowing to our brain . This could be caused by a blood clot or an atherosclerotic plaque that blocks the arteries that supply blood to the brain; This is what we call ischemic stroke.

Another type of stroke is hemorrhagic stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. This causes a brain hemorrhage. This type of stroke is much less common, but it is more dangerous.

Stroke progresses very rapidly (as a result of ischemia, up to 1.8 million neurons die per minute!), And its consequences can be very serious.

A large proportion of stroke survivors remain permanently disabled, while others struggle with various types of cognitive or emotional disorders for the rest of their lives.

The life of a person depends on how quickly the help of a specialist is provided. Therefore, it is better not to trust fate and prevent a stroke before it occurs.

Stroke – risk factors

In the case of a stroke, we can talk about several factors that are extremely favorable for its incidence. Thanks to them, you can predict if you are at risk of suffering one. Are here:

1. Old age : Although stroke can occur at any age, the risk of having a stroke increases significantly after age 55 .

2. Gender : stroke is 19% more common in men than women.

3. Race : Research shows that black people are more likely (about 2.5%) to have a stroke than white people.

4. Genetics : the presence of chronic diseases in the immediate family increases the risk that they will occur in the next generations.

5. Hypertension : this is one of the most important risk factors that we can control. A stroke is more likely to occur in people with systolic hypertension of 140 mm Hg.

6. Atherosclerosis : In addition to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis also plays a key role in the development of a stroke. The accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque in the vessels causes them to narrow or completely block blood flow.

Internal carotid artery narrowing is estimated to be the cause of 20% of ischemic strokes.

7. Type 2 diabetes : it has been shown that in diabetics the risk of suffering a stroke is three times higher than in the rest of the population.

8. Heart disease : Atrial fibrillation, various types of heart defects, coronary artery disease, and myocardial infarction are particularly dangerous. It has been shown that a few days or even weeks after a heart attack, the risk of a stroke is much higher.

9. Increased level of bad cholesterol in the blood (LDL): when there is too much, it accumulates on the walls of the arteries in the form of plaque.

10. Smoking : Nicotine has a significant impact on stroke induction, as it aggravates atherosclerosis and irreversibly damages endothelial vessels. Studies have shown that smokers are 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those who have never smoked.

11. Overweight and lack of exercise : According to researchers, physically active people are much less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis and have high cholesterol levels and, therefore, they are also less likely to suffer a stroke.

12. Alcohol abuse : as you surely know, drinking small amounts of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on our health, however, consuming too high doses is the opposite. People who drink alcohol regularly have a risk of stroke up to almost 1.8 times higher.

Stroke Risk Factors: What Could You Change?

It is worth noting that the above factors are divided into those on which we have no influence (1-4) and factors that depend on us (5-12). The good news is that a stroke can be prevented if you make some modifications in your life.

  1. Change your eating habits : add more vegetables and fruits to your diet to complement meat, especially red meat, also limit your consumption of salt and processed foods.
  2. Move regularly : the recommended amount of physical activity is 30 minutes a day.
  3. Stop smoking and don’t abuse alcohol .
  4. If you suffer from a chronic disease, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes or hypertension, you will need to be under constant medical supervision and take medication regularly.

Implementing these recommendations can significantly reduce the risk of stroke or alleviate its development .

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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