Stroke Risk Factors
Stroke risk factors
Risk factors are traits and lifestyle habits that increase the chance of disease. A lot of studies have identified several factors that increase the risk of stroke. There are two groups of stroke risk factors--
- those that you can change, control, or treat
- those that can't be changed.
The more risk factors, the greater the chance of having a stroke. The best way to prevent a stroke is to reduce the stroke risk factors. A doctor can help you change factors that result from lifestyle or environment.
Controllable stroke risk factors: habits to change
When lifestyle changes don't reduce the risk factor enough, get medical help to control it.
- Smoking. Cigarette smoking is a major, preventable risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduce the oxygen in a person's blood. They also damage the walls of blood vessels and make clots more likely to form. Some kinds of birth control pills combined with smoking greatly increase stroke risk in women. If you or your survivor smoke, get help to quit NOW!
NOTE: The relative risk of stroke in heavy smokers (more than 40 cigarettes a day) is twice that of people who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day. Stroke risk decreases significantly after two years of not smoking and is at the level of non-smokers within five years of quitting.
- Physical inactivity and obesity. Inactivity and obesity both can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Depending on his deficits, exercise may be difficult for your survivor, nonetheless, it is very important. Find a way he can be active.
- Excessive alcohol. Women who drink on average more than one alcoholic drink a day or men who drink more than two drinks a day can raise blood pressure and may increase their stroke risk.
- Some illegal drugs. Intravenous drug abuse carries a high risk of stroke. Cocaine use has also been linked to strokes and heart attacks.