A stroke is a deadly medical event that occurs when the brain is deprived of an oxygenated blood supply. Without oxygen, the brain tissue quickly dies, leading to long-term disability and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke every year, with one person affected every 45 seconds on average. Do not be a part of these statistics—learn your risk factors and take the necessary steps for improving your health. Read on for more information about the major risk factors for a stroke.
High blood pressure leads to the application of unnecessary stress on the walls of the arteries. Over time, this force can lead to the damage or deterioration of the vessel wall, which can result in a stroke.
- Atrial fibrillation
Commonly called afib, this irregular heartbeat occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart beat quickly and erratically. These unpredictable heartbeats can allow blood to pool in the heart, which can lead to the formation of clots.These clots can then travel to the brain and block an artery, causing an ischemic stroke.
High levels of cholesterol can lead to the buildup of fatty plaques on the artery walls, which can clog arteries and eventually obstruct blood flow.
- Tobacco use
According to the National Stroke Association, cigarette smokers are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than nonsmokers.
Fortunately, all of the above risk factors are modifiable, meaning that they can be improved or eliminated through healthier lifestyle decisions. Exercising regularly, for example, can help to reduce your blood pressure and manage obesity. Avoiding fatty foods can improve your cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of an ischemic stroke or heart attack.
There are some risk factors, however, that cannot be controlled. Age, gender, race, and family history, for example, cannot be changed through any lifestyle choice.
Fortunately, even these risk factors can be effectively managed and treated with the help of a knowledgeable physician.
If you are interested in finding a physician that specializes in stroke care, contact the MountainView Hospital Consult-A-Nurse health care referral line today at (702) 233-5474. Our staff is ready to help you at any time!