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Life After Cancer A Roadmap for Cancer Survivors

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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