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Stroke Risk Factors
Jay S. Luxenberg, MD and Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD
Data from: Nutrition Action Health Letter by Bonnie Lieberman, Center For Science in the Public Interest Vol 34, No.2 p.1-8
- Stroke risk evaluation is dependent on many factors, some of which cannot be changed.
- 1. Age - as one ages, the risk doubles every ten years after age 55.
2. Sex -men have more strokes than women.
3. Race - African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans have a higher rate of strokes than non-Hispanic whites.
4. Genetics - a family history of a stroke places family members at greater risk.
5. Second strokes - one in six people with ischemic (atherosclerotic) strokes, who survive, are at greater risk of another stroke within two years.
6. People who have TIAs (transient ischemic attacks - a mini stroke) are at about a ten- times greater risk of having a major stroke.
7. Hypertension - increases the strain on the blood vessels in the brain
8. Heart disease
9. Poor nutrition- not eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish with excess dietary sodium and a low potassium diet.
10. Lack of a daily exercise program
11. Overweight and obesity
12. Diabetes is a stroke risk and requires active treatment.
- Strokes can be prevented through controlling blood pressure (hypertension), cholesterol (bas lipids), and other comorbidities. Changes in lifestyle, such as not smoking, moderate to vigorous exercise thirty minutes a day, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a prudent heart-healthy diet are also very important.
It has been estimated that about 80% of the risk of a stroke is related to high blood pressure. When the blood pressure is controlled, the stroke risk may decrease about 40%, which also reduces the heart attack rate by about 27% and heart failure by 54%.
About two-thirds of Americans over age sixty-five have an elevated blood pressure making the brain arteries become stiffer and more fragile for a possible bleed, especially if there is hypertension.
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