While some stroke factors like aging, gender and certain heart and blood disorders can't be controlled, there are many factors you can help mitigate.
Knowing your risk factors for stroke - and how to effectively manage them - are the keys to prevention and may help you live a longer, healthier life.
Risk factors you can help control:
- High blood pressure. The single most important risk factor to monitor for stroke is your blood pressure. Know your numbers and have them checked at least once every two years. If it your blood pressure 140/90 or above, it's high. Learn more here and talk to your doctor about how to control it.
- Tobacco use. Don't smoke cigarettes or use other forms of tobacco.
- Diabetes. While diabetes is treatable, having it increases your risk of stroke. Work with your doctor to manage your condition.
- Carotid or other artery disease. The carotid arteries in your neck supply blood to your brain. A carotid artery damaged by a fatty buildup of plaque may become blocked by a blood clot, causing a stroke.
- High blood cholesterol. High blood cholesterol levels increase the risk of clogged arteries leading to the brain, resulting in a stroke.
- Physical inactivity and obesity. Being inactive, obese or both can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Learn how to get healthy.
- Excessive alcohol intake. Consuming an average of more than one drink per day for women or more than two drinks a day for men raises blood pressure. Binge drinking can lead to stroke.
- Illegal drug use. Intravenous drug abuse and the use of other substances such as cocaine have been linked to stroke.
Be proactive with your health!
In addition to scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor, use these quick tools:
If you have a family history of stroke, it's important that you consult a doctor who specializes in heart care to determine your best plan of care for a healthy life. Find a neurologist today.