Stroke risk factors are behaviors or characteristics that increase your risk of contracting an illness or other ailment. Although you are more likely to do so, having one or more risk factors does not guarantee that you will get a disease.
Strokes affect more than 795,000 Americans annually, although up to 50% of them may be avoided. The most common cause of disability in the US is stroke. Numerous risk factors are treatable, modifiable, or manageable. Some stroke risk factors, however, are unavoidable.
Stroke risk factors that are manageable
The single biggest risk factor for stroke is hypertension or high blood pressure. Adults with a blood pressure of 140/90 or above have a high risk. In adults, maintaining blood pressure at 120/80 mm Hg or below is the typical treatment goal.
The leading avoidable cause of early mortality in the nation is still smoking. Quit smoking if you already do, and don’t start if you don’t. Look for resources in your neighborhood to help you stop smoking.
A major risk factor for stroke is heart disease, particularly atrial fibrillation (a form of irregular heartbeat). Pay close attention to how your therapy is doing if you have heart disease.
Diabetes mellitus raises the risk of stroke, particularly caused by tiny blood artery damage.
Hyperlipidemia, often known as high cholesterol, raises the risk of stroke. Have your cholesterol levels examined, and if required, regulate them by reducing the quantity of fat and cholesterol you consume.
Less than 70 mg/dL is the desired amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), sometimes known as “bad” cholesterol.
Alcohol use (more than one drink per day) raises the risk of stroke. Be careful how much alcohol you consume.
Your chance of acquiring hypertension and diabetes, two risk factors for stroke, may rise if you are overweight or obese and have a sedentary lifestyle.
Carotid and/or coronary artery disease that is already present. Most of the blood that goes to your brain travels through your neck’s carotid arteries. A blood clot may block a carotid artery that has been weakened by fatty plaque build-up inside the arterial wall, leading to a stroke.
Using drugs illegally. Stroke risk has been linked to the use of street drugs including crack, cocaine, and marijuana.
Some of these medications have an immediate impact on the brain’s blood arteries, leading to a stroke. Others harm the heart, which can result in a stroke.
Risk factors that are not manageable
Children and adults of various ages can suffer from strokes. However, as people age, their chance of having a stroke rises.
A stroke occurs more frequently in males than in women due to biological sex. In most age groups, males will get a stroke more frequently than women each year. However, more than half of all stroke deaths are female. Pregnant women are more likely to get a stroke. People who use birth control pills, smoke, or have risk factors like high blood pressure are also at a higher risk.
Race: Racial and ethnic differences in stroke risk exist. Compared to white individuals, Black, and Hispanic persons are more prone to get a stroke. Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have a higher-than-average risk of stroke.
Family background: If a parent, grandmother, sister, or brother has experienced a stroke, your chance of having one is increased.
Prior heart attack or stroke: A person who has once experienced a stroke or heart attack is far more likely to do so again.
Your doctor can assess your stroke risk and offer management advice for your risk factors. Regular check-ups are crucial for spotting issues before they get out of hand.