Ways To Prevent Stroke – Learn Why 80% of Strokes Are Preventable!
Seventy-five million Americans are estimated to experience a stroke this year, 160,000 of this number will die and the rest will have their lives changed in meaningful and profound ways forever, However, This article talks about efficient ways to prevent stroke.
African Americans are twice as likely to die as Caucasians from a stroke and the risk of getting their first stroke is almost double that of Caucasians. One-half of all African American women will die of either a heart attack or a stroke.
For those with sickle cell anemia, 11% will have experienced a stroke by the age of 20. Pretty depressing until you read the next line:
“… 80% of strokes are preventable!”
You Have the Power to Make a Significant Change!
That’s not saying this to me but the National Association of Strokes. This assertion indicates that this year, 600,000 Americans may be stopping their strokes from occurring. You can make a marked difference in how strokes affect you and your group. When you know what to do, you will help avoid a stroke and lower the damage from a stroke.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is just a brain attack! Much as a heart attack affects the heart, the brain is affected by a stroke or a brain attack. Vital blood and oxygen are cut off from the brain cells resulting in some degree of damage to the damaged brain tissue.
Most strokes occur by blocking the artery or blood vessel through a blood clot, or through the slow build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits, or through sickle cells that tend to stick together once they have transformed into their sickle shape.
In some cases, a stroke can be caused when an artery or blood vessel ruptures at a weak spot in the wall of that artery or blood vessel.
Every stroke is different since it depends upon the area of the brain that has been affected and the amount of time that area has been without oxygen. Strokes are also classified according to their severity.
A mini-stroke or TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack).
A mini-stroke or TIA(Transient Ischemic Attack) is a brief episode of stroke-like symptoms that can last from a few minutes to 24 hours. TIAs generally do not cause permanent damage or disability but are serious signs of an impending stroke. It is estimated that another stroke will occur in 35 percent of people who undergo a TIA. Statistically, this breaks down like this:
o 5 to 14% will have an additional stroke within one year.
o Within the next five years, 24% of women and 42% of men will have an additional stroke.
Again, this can seem overwhelming and depressing until you remember that:
“… 80% of strokes are preventable!”
This means you can take steps on the front end to prevent a stroke and you can take steps after you have had a stroke to prevent an additional one.
Risk Factors: Uncontrollable vs. Controllable!
Everyone has a certain amount of risk of having a stroke. An understanding of the risk factors that contribute to a stroke is important. There are some controllable risk factors. There are a few contributing factors not. We’ll look at the uncontrollable risk factors of stroke first:
Although a stroke can happen at any age, your risk increases with age. After age 55, the risk for a stroke doubles for every decade. Although you have no control over your chronological age, you do have the ability to reduce your biological age.
A stroke is more common in men but more lethal in women.
For African Americans, the risk of a stroke is twice the rate for Caucasians. Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders are also at a higher risk than Caucasians.
If someone in your family has had a stroke, then you are at a higher risk for a stroke. Part of this could be genetics and part could be a lifestyle. You have no control over genetics but you certainly have control over your lifestyle.
Previous Stroke or TIA.
If you have had a stroke or TIA then your chance of having another stroke in the next 5 years is 25 to 40% depending upon your gender.
As you can see from the above list, there are certain factors that you do not have any control over. The good news is that you have multiple ways to offset the above uncontrollable risk factors. Our companion article “11 Action Steps That May Prevent Strokes!” will go into greater depth on the actionable steps that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke through the following controllable risk factors:
Control of High Blood Pressure.
High blood pressure increases stroke risk 4-6 times and is the #1 risk factor for a stroke. You have the power to positively impact this area.
Control Heart Disease especially
Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Atrial fibrillation can cause blood to collect in the upper chambers of your heart increasing the opportunity for blood to form clots to cause a stroke.
Smoking doubles the risk of stroke.
Control of Alcohol Consumption.
Moderate consumption of alcohol is represented in one glass of wine or beer, or one drink per day. Some evidence indicates that moderate alcohol consumption may be good way to prevent stroke, given there are no other medical reasons for alcohol avoidance. Nevertheless, as you rise from mild to heavy alcohol consumption, all changes and the risk increases dramatically.
Control Your Cholesterol.
Lowering your cholesterol may have a positive effect on reducing your risk of stroke. It will certainly reduce your risk for heart disease which is a major risk factor for stroke.
Control Your Diabetes.
CHECK OUT: HOW YOU CAN PREVENT AND TREAT DIABETES
Having diabetes increases your risk for a stroke. There is a lot way to prevent stroke, also control your blood sugar and improve your overall health and wellness.
Control Your Weight Through Diet, Exercise, and Nutrition.
The “Super Size Me” fast food lifestyle has created a “Super Sized” population of overweight and obese people. This additional weight increases your risk for a stroke, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other health issues.
Check for Other Circulatory Problems.
Aside from sickle cell disease, your carotid arteries must be regularly checked by a qualified doctor. The carotid arteries carry blood from the heart to the brain and may be narrowed by cholesterol accumulation and other plaque-forming substances. This results in decreased blood flow and an increased risk of blood clots and blockages.
Our companion article “11 Action Steps That May Prevent Strokes!” will discuss each one of these controllable risk factors and give you a comprehensive plan of action to help you not only lower your risk but also improve your health and overall wellness.
Common Stroke Symptoms!
On ways to prevent stroke, we will conclude this article by looking at common stroke symptoms. Learning these symptoms and knowing what to do when they occur could save your life or the life of someone else. These are the most common stroke symptoms:
- The Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg especially if it occurs on one side of the body.
- Also the Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
If you have or see anyone with these signs then call 911 right away. Time is important in reducing one stroke ‘s impact. There is a clot-busting drug that can be used to lessen the effects of a stroke. However, there is only a three-hour period when administering this drug.
If the signs of the stroke occur the clock starts ticking and the difference between life or death, lifelong disability, or substantial recovery may be your fast response.
Stroke is the number one cause of disability among adults. In the United States, stroke is the third leading cause of death. The symptoms of a stroke are significantly greater for the African American population. “80 percent of strokes are preventable,” according to the National Stroke Association.
Please join us in helping our community take meaningful ways to prevent the risk of stroke.
Please email this article to a friend. Make it your goal to share this with at least 5 others so that together we can change the health dynamics of our community. Thank You!
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