Are You At Risk For Stroke?
Understanding the risk factors is the key to prevention. Less than 1/3rd of the stroke cases have any warning signs and about 12% of strokes affect persons younger than 40 years of age.
There are several risk factors that increase the risk of stroke. Some factors can be controlled while some factors cannot.
Risk factors you can control:
•Tobacco Use: It damages your blood vessels. Heavy smoking and smoking from a young age increases your risk.
•High Blood Pressure: It is the most important risk factor for stroke and easily preventable.
•High Cholesterol: High cholesterol leads to clogging of arteries which in turn can lead to stroke.
•Diabetes: Diabetes speeds up the development of narrowing and hardening of arteries which in turn increases the risk of stroke.
•Physical Inactivity/ Obesity: Being physically inactive increases the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke by 50%. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes.
•Unhealthy diet: Diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in salt and saturated fats can increase the risk for stroke.
•Alcohol and drug Use: Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk for stroke by increasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
•Heart disease: Irregular heart beat (Atrial Fibrillation) and Rheumatic heart disease are associated with increased risk of stroke.
•Medication Use: Oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk.
•Chronic Stress: Can increase the risk for stroke.
Risk Factors that you cannot control
•Age: Stroke risk increases with age. Risk of stroke double every decade after your turn 55.
•Gender: Men are more likely to suffer from stroke.
•Genetics: Increased risk of stroke in people with family history of stroke.
•Prior history of stroke: is a strong risk factor for stroke.
M. Tripathi and D. Vibha, “Stroke in young in India,” Stroke Research and Treatment, vol. 2011