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.


Older men and women are always at a risk of Heart Attack, Cancer and Stroke. Heart attack and stroke are inter-related in many aspects.Hypertension is the cause in both these lethal conditions.

  • Anything that reduces Blood Pressure makes a person less vulnerable to both Heart attack and Stroke.
  • Vigorous life and a Healthful diet protect you from both Heart Attack & Stroke.

Being careful about Lifestyle adds to protection against Stroke & Heart Attach.

  • Lifestyle choices should be the first consideration for most men over 40. That means exercise. It’s important for a man to get enough exercise.
  • Be careful of Hypertension.
  • Obesity is an important risk factor for Cardiovascular Diseases.
  • Watchout for your Blood Cholesterol Levels. Eating less of the foods heavy in artery-clogging cholesterol and fat.
  • Stop Smoking all together. Smoking constricts the blood vessels.
Doctors advise men over 40 to take a low-dosage, coated Aspirin – 81 mg. is standard daily to help prevent cholesterol build-up and blood clots.
Types of StrokeStroke can present in various forms. Diseases of Carotid arteries, that run along each side of neck, are mainly involved in the genesis of Stroke. These arteries supply blood from heart to the brain.Stroke is clinically of three types:

  • TIA – Transient Ischemic Attack or Mini Stroke
  • Evolving Stroke
  • Completed Stroke

TIA – Transient Ischemic Attack or Mini Stroke:

In this type of stroke Fatty plaque is formed in the carotid arteries, and when it is sufficient enough to reduce critical amount of blood flow to the brain this type of transient ischemic attack occurs.

TIAs are extremely important stroke warning signs. Don’t ignore them!

Symptoms of TIA are

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face or a limb
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Dimmed, blurred or double vision
  • Balance problems
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden changes in personality and mental ability

The effects of TIA are usually brief, but cannot be ignored because they indicate the possibility of a full-blown stroke in the future, or a heart attack. About a third of those suffering from TIA will have a stroke, often within a year.
About 10 percent of strokes are preceded by TIAs.

Evolving Stroke:

In some patients the symptoms develop in the matter of hours or days. This may be due to cerebral tumour or subdural hematoma or may be due to slow occlusion of major cerebral vessels.

Completed Stroke:

This is an episode of focal cerebral dysfuction due to cerebral infaction or haemorrhage, with symptoms lasting for longer than 24 hrs. Stroke usually evolve rapidly over a few minutes, and reach maximum disability within an hour or two. Sometimes a slower course occurs.
Headache is a common symptom of acute stroke. Vomiting and epileptic seizure with depressed consciousness may also occur.
The precise features of stroke depend upon the territory of the brain involved.

Cerebral Thrombosis: is caused by blood clot in one of the arteries in the brain. The clot may have travelled in the neck or the brain from other part of the body.

Hemorrhagic Stroke: involves a blood vessel in the brain which may have burst or leaked blood.

Both these types cause destruction of the crucial brain cells by depriving them of oxygen and sugar, which may take few minutes to hours.

Body builder – had Stroke after taking energy suppliments

Body builder – had Stroke after taking energy suppliments

The 33-year old young man, who used to train two hours daily as a body builder, purchased energy supplements over the counter. The MaHuang supplement contained 20 mg of ephedra, 200 mg caffeine, and other compounds. Each day, the man took four to six of these pills, as well as a daily creatine supplement containing 6000 mg of the drug. The man, who worked as a baggage handler in an airport, had the stroke about six weeks after starting to take the supplements. He awoke one morning unable to speak, and with weakness in his right arm and the right side of his face. Brain scans showed that he had had a stroke, where the blood supply to part of his brain had been cut off, perhaps by a clot. The patient had no vascular risk factors, in particular no tobacco use, and he was perfectly fit until his stroke.

The supplements he was taking, however, have been associated with adverse side effects. Ephedrine has been linked to stroke, heart attack and psychosis. Large doses of caffeine also affect the heart. Although cardiovascular problems have not been reported with creatine, the drug may have negative effects when combined with supplements, particularly those that affect the sympathetic nervous system. Creatine has also led to kidney problems.

Dangers of Creatine
Warning About Body Building Supplement
Adverse effects of Amphetamines