Anyone can have problems associated with cardiovascular system such as stroke. However, how likely you are to suffer or have this problem is closely dependent on several risk factors (conditions that affect your chance of developing stroke). In other words, experts cannot definitely tell you whether or not you will have it. They only know that more risk factors you have means greater risk you get to develop this health problem.
This health condition is the leading problem that causes disability in many countries. It can be life-threatening condition – in fact it is the 3rd-leading cause of death in the U.S.
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The earlier someone with stroke symptoms get the appropriate treatment, the better prognosis for recovery. For this reason, it’s important to carry someone with the onset symptoms of stroke to the hospital to get the medical care and treatment as soon as possible.
As well we know, each cell of your body needs continuously supply of nutrients and oxygen to keep survive – including for cells of your brain. These oxygen and nutrients are distributed and carried by blood that flow through blood vessels.
Stroke can occur when there is any problem that stops the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the brain. The discontinue blood supply within minutes can be potential to make cells of the brain begin to die.
In general, there are two major types of stroke; ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic type is the most common type of stroke. Typically, it is less severe than hemorrhagic type and there is still a chance to reverse the damage. It can occur due to one or some of the following reasons:
- An embolus (clot) forms inside artery that carries blood to the brain. It can be larger overtime which then eventually can be large enough to block and obstruct the blood flow to the brain.
- A clot also can form in another part beyond the brain or brain arteries. But it can travel to the brain artery through other blood vessels which then also can be large enough to cause a clogged artery brain.
In hemorrhagic stroke, the blocked blood flow to the brain can be caused by a ruptured-artery or when there is a brain artery that leaks. This brain hemorrhage can occur due to several reasons.
But in many cases, it is usually caused by uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) or aneurysms (weak spots in the walls of blood vessels). A less common cause is a condition called AVM ‘Arteriovenous malformation’ – it is an abnormal tangle of defective (thin walled) blood vessels that typically presents at birth.
Risk factors of stroke can be divided into two major groups; modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.
As the name suggests, ‘non-modifiable’ means that there is nothing you can do to change these risk factors, these include:
- Age – this may the most significant unchangeable risk factor of stroke. In fact, many cases of this health problem are more common in elderly people (older than 55 years-old, according to Mayo Clinic). In other words, as you get older with your age, your risk increases.
- If you have a family history of stroke or/and other cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack – your risk is relatively higher than others who don’t have.
- If you are an African-American, your risk is greater than other races. Some studies showed that stroke is more likely to occur in blacks than in whites.
- Gender also has an effect! Women have lower risk than men! Many statistics showed that this health problem is more common in men than in women.
But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options you can do to reduce your risk – even if you have all of the unchangeable risk factors mentioned above!
The following are some modifiable risk factors that you can change to prevent a stroke latter in your life.
The consumption of alcohol in moderation is not a problem. But when you drink it too much, this can be bad for the health of your arteries and blood vessels.
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If you drink, ensure you drink it not more than 1 drink a day (if you are a woman) or not more 2 drinks a day (if you are a man) – recommended by the American Heart Association.
If you have diabetes, you are relatively easier to have more episodes of too high or too low blood sugar. Chronic high blood sugar is a risk factor of stroke.
However, as long as you can control your blood sugar as well – there should be nothing to worry!
All experts agree that hypertension is the leading risk factor of stroke. Overtime, chronic hypertension can make your heart work harder and will be potential to cause a clogged artery of the brain.
Fortunately, hypertension is manageable and preventable condition. Here are some home remedies you can explore to keep your blood pressure at its healthy level.
Nicotine and other harmful substances from cigarette smoking are very bad for your overall health, including for your blood vessels. They can damage and hurt your blood vessel walls.
If you are a smoker, quitting smoking can significantly help your risk of many health problems, including stroke.
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol (especially high LDL – it is considered as bad cholesterol that stands for ‘Low Density Lipoprotein) is bad for the circulation of blood in the blood vessels.
Chronic high cholesterol can cause hypertension and lead to a condition called atherosclerosis ‘narrowing and hardening artery’.