In the United States, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. And every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke, according to the Center for Disease Control.
A stroke could happen to anyone, including you, your family, and your loved ones. Strokes do not discriminate against race, age, or gender.
When discussing strokes, it is crucial to keep in mind the risk factors and treatment options associated with the disease to better prepare if it happens to someone you love.
As you age, it does increase your chances of having a stroke. Keep reading this guide to learn more about stroke risk factors and the potential treatment options available.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood being supplied to the brain is disrupted. The blood is what transports oxygen and other essential nutrients to the brain. When the blood is not reaching certain parts of the brain, the result is the cells start to die.
Cell death is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the body to help protect it and keep it healthy. But the problem occurs when the cells are unable to regenerate, creating issues like having difficulty walking, talking, or thinking.
Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and all over the globe. It is estimated that 150,000 Americans die each year as a result of having a stroke. Many people fear having a stroke not only because of death but also due to the changes in life quality that result from it.
Stroke Risk Factors
One of the leading causes of a stroke is advancing age. With life expectancy increasing and advancing age of a significant generation of Americans, strokes are expected to increase significantly over the next few years.
Unfortunately, strokes do affect people of all ages. Cerebrovascular disease is one of the lead causes of death in children.
In most age groups, men frequently had more strokes than women. One exception was with young adults, as pregnant women had an increased risk of having a stroke. It is also more common for African Americans to have a stroke as compared to those of European descent.
Some of the common causes of a stroke include:
- Family History
- Poor Diet
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Sediment Lifestyle
- Alcohol/Drug Abuse
There are certain steps you can take to help lower your risk of having a stroke. Some of the common ways to help lessen your chances of having a stroke are lifestyle changes, diet, and medications.
It is important to remember when having symptoms of a stroke to contact medical treatment immediately. Because the stroke may have a significant impact on the way individuals think and speak, it is essential for family members or anyone else around to recognize the symptoms.
In the past, having a stroke was looked at as an untreatable disease. New treatments are becoming available that are changing this perception.
When being treated, medical professionals will usually prescribe a blood thinner to reduce the risk of having blood clots. Some of the common medications that are prescribed include
The treatment option depends on the stage the patient is in, there are three treatment stages
- Therapy after the stroke
- Rehab after the stroke
Medication is the most common treatment option for stroke patients. There are other ways to treat a stroke, including surgery and vascular methods. For strokes caused by major brain artery blockage, a procedure called thrombectomy is recommended.
The procedure consists of a small catheter entering the blocked vessel and using the device to remove the clot. It can significantly reduce the chances of a disability and, in some cases, reverse the effects of the stroke.
Some factors can not be controlled when it comes to having a stroke, but here are some ways for you to lower your risk of having a stroke
Stop Smoking – Smoking can double your chances of dying from a stroke. The more you smoke, the higher your chances of having a stroke. It is best not to smoke at all.
Eat Healthily – It is recommended to eat fruits and vegetables every day as a part of a healthy diet. Avoid foods that are high in sodium as it can increase blood pressure.
Lose Weight – Obesity is one of the leading causes of having a stroke. Obesity is also linked to increased blood pressure and diabetes.
Exercise – Exercise helps lower blood pressure and helps in losing weight. It is recommended to exercise at least five days a week.
Treat Diabetes – Having high blood sugar levels over time can damage blood vessels, leading to blood clots.
Limit Drinking – More than two drinks a day can increase your chances of having a stroke. It is best to drink in moderation.
The most critical factor in stroke prevention is seeking medical attention immediately when the signs are present. According to the American Stroke Association, by learning and sharing the F.A.S.T warning signs, you can help save a life.
F (Face Drooping) – If one side of the face is drooping or their smile is uneven.
A (Arm Weakness) – If there is weakness or numbness in one arm or the other.
S (Speech) – If the speech is slurred or the person is unable to speak.
T ( Time to Call 911) – If the person shows any of these signs, call 911 immediately and get them to the hospital.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke can mean the difference between life and death. These signs should be taken seriously, even if the symptoms go away.
For More Information on Medication
A stroke can be very scary for everyone involved. Remember, it is vital to know the signs and symptoms to help prevent a stroke from causing severe irreversible damage.
It is also important to follow prevention guidelines and to not ignore the stroke risk factors.
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