In our previous post, we discussed the different types of strokes prevalent in men and women of all ages. While not all risk factors are preventable, it will help to be aware of the ones that you can and can’t control.
Smoking. While smoking is never good for your body, it most certainly raises your chance of being a stroke victim. The nicotine in cigarettes makes your blood pressure rise, naturally upping your chances of having a stroke, however; the actual cigarette smoke causes fatty buildup in the main artery that runs through your neck. This smoke also causes your blood to thicken, making it more likely to clot. Unfortunately, you don’t have to be the one smoking to receive the unfortunate side effects, as second-hand smoke contributes to the blood thickening as well.
High blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is the main cause of strokes. If it is the 140/90 range, then you doctor will most likely present treatment options designed to get it under control.
Diabetes. Defined as a disease that alters the body’s ability to produce and respond to insulin, diabetes causes an abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and raises levels of glucose in both the blood and urine. Obesity is often the cause of both diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn, ups the chance of stroke. When a person has diabetes, there blood vessels are more likely to be damaged, driving up your chances of having a stroke. And to top it off, if a stroke occurs when you have heightened sugar levels, you have a greater chance of brain injury.
Heart Disease. Nearly a quarter of all strokes amongst the elderly population are caused by heart disease. When you have this condition, you are at risk for clogged arteries, irregular heartbeat, and defective heart valves, which all contribute to causes of stroke.
Weight and exercise. Like most health issues, maintaining a healthy weight is key for avoiding a stroke. While it’s important to keep your diet full of a decent balance of proteins and veggies, it is also essential to partake in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. A daily brisk 30-minute walk is all it takes to boost the preventative measures that can help avoid a stroke.
Family history. Like most things, strokes can be hereditary. Whether it’s a tendency to have high blood pressure, diabetes, or a genetic disorder that blocks blood flow to the brain, it’s important to research your family history of health issues.
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