Stroke Risk Factors & Prevention

StrokeEvery 40 seconds in the United States, someone suffers from a stroke. Stroke falls at number 5 on the top causes of death in the US. claiming roughly 130,000 people’s lives a year.

Blood vessels are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. During a stroke, a blood vessel is ruptured or blocked by a clot. What does this mean for the brain? Part of the brain is unable to receive all of the blood and oxygen necessary to function causing brain cells to die.

Since the brain controls many body functions, the effects of a stroke are extremely severe. When the region controlling a type of body function is affected by a stroke,that part of the body does not function in its entirety. Some examples of body malfunction include paralysis, vision problems, memory loss, or speech problems.

The risk for stroke depends on many controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. The risk factors that can’t be changed include age, with risk doubling for each decade after age 55. Women are more likely to have a stroke and die from it than men. A family history also contributes to your risk as well having had a prior stroke or heart attack. While it is unfortunate to have risk factors that cannot be modified, there are also several risk factors that can be changed to lessen the risk of stroke.

Like many other forms of heart disease, poor diet and physical inactivity play a large role in your risk for stroke. Being a smoker also increases your risk as well as having high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol or other forms of heart disease.  

So what can you do to prevent the risk of stroke? Make quality sleep a priority with 7-8 hours. Take control of your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. Fill your body with healthy nutrients though fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. Take every opportunity to move around.

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