Stroke Prevention: Control Everything You Can
Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer new or recurrent stroke every year. The older you are, the greater your risk of stroke. If not deadly, strokes can be devastating, disfiguring and disabling.
You can and should do everything possible to reduce your risk today. This starts with lifestyle changes and monitoring blood pressure. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for women. Eating healthy and not smoking can reduce your stroke risk, as well.
Stroke can strike suddenly, or symptoms may appear slowly, but the underlying conditions that lead to stroke can be present for years before a stroke occurs.
Stroke is the number 5 killer in the United States, and a leading cause of disability among older Americans. In fact:
- 1 in every 20 deaths is from a stroke
- 1 in 4 stroke survivors is at risk for another
- Every 4 minutes, somebody in the U.S. dies of a stroke
Stroke interrupts blood flow to the brain— without oxygen, brain cells die.
Stroke is a form of cerebrovascular disease, meaning it affects the vessels that supply blood to the brain. Like the heart, the brain’s cells need a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood.
Atrial Fibrillation patients are 5 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
Atrial fibrillation (“A-Fib”), or an irregular heart rhythm, is another major risk factor for ischemic embolic stroke. A-Fib is responsible for 15-20% percent of all strokes. And, while it is serious, it is also easily treated. Unfortunately, many women hesitate to take the most common blood thinning medications prescribed for A-Fib because it requires a bit more management than other medicine. However, it is a true lifesaver for those with the condition and they should follow their doctor’s orders.
Possible Hidden Causes of Stroke to discuss with your doctor:
- Heart structure problem (such as Patent Foreman Ovale)
- Blood clotting disorder (Thrombophilia)
- Hardening of the Arteries (Large Artery Atherosclerosis)
- Past Stroke, History of Transient Ischemic Attacks (“TIA” or “Mini-Strokes”) or prior Heart Attack
Things you can control or manage to lower your risk:
Already had a stroke or TIA?
Quick Treatment = Less Brain Damage
Until next time!
Stephanie Coulter, MD