Stroke ~ Risk Factors

Stroke ~ Risk Factors
There are many factors which increase the risk of Stroke

  • Increasing age – The chance of having a stroke more than doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, substantial numbers of people under 65 also have strokes.
  • Male sex – Overall, men have about a 19 percent greater chance of stroke than women. Among people under age 65, the risk for men is even greater when compared to that of women.
  • Heredity (family history) and race – The chance of stroke is greater in people who have a family history of stroke. African Americans have a much higher risk of death and disability from a stroke than whites, in part because blacks have a greater incidence of high blood pressure.
  • Prior stroke – The risk of stroke for someone who has already had one is many times that of a person who has not.
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke. In fact, stroke risk varies directly with blood pressure.
  • Cigarette smoking – In recent years studies have shown cigarette smoking to be an important risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system in many ways. The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk.
  • Diabetes mellitus – Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke and is strongly correlated with high blood pressure. While diabetes is treatable, having it still increases a person’s risk of stroke. People with diabetes often also have high cholesterol and are overweight, increasing their risk even more.
  • Carotid artery disease – The carotid arteries in your neck supply blood to your brain. A carotid artery damaged by atherosclerosis (a fatty buildup of plaque in the artery wall) may become blocked by a blood clot, which may result in a stroke.
  • Heart disease – A diseased heart increases the risk of stroke. In fact, people with heart problems have more than twice the risk of stroke as those with hearts that work normally. Atrial fibrillation (the rapid, uncoordinated beating of the heart’s upper chambers), in particular, raises the risk for stroke. Heart attack is also the major cause of death among survivors of stroke.
  • Transient ischemic attacks (T.I.A.s) – TIAs are “mini strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but not lasting damage. They are strong predictors of stroke. A person who’s had one or more TIAs is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t.
  • High red blood cell count – A moderate or marked increase in the red blood cell count is a risk factor for stroke. The reason is that more red blood cells thicken the blood and make clots more likely.
  • High blood cholesterol and lipids
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity or overweight
Other factors can affect the risk of stroke?

  • Geographic location – Strokes are more common in the south-eastern United States than in other areas.
  • Season and climate – Stroke deaths occur more often during periods of extremely hot or cold temperatures.
  • Socioeconomic factors – There’s some evidence that people of lower income and educational levels have a higher risk for stroke.
  • Excessive alcohol intake – Excessive drinking (an average of more than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks per day for men) and binge drinking can raise blood pressure, contribute to obesity, high triglycerides, cancer and other diseases, cause heart failure; and lead to stroke.
  • Certain kinds of drug abuse – Intravenous drug abuse carries a high risk of stroke from cerebral embolisms. Cocaine use has been closely related to strokes, heart attacks and a variety of other cardiovascular complications. Some of them have been fatal even in first-time cocaine users.
 Stroke
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