Risk factors for having a stroke


Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and approximately 500,000 Americans have strokes each year, about one-third of them dying within months of having one. The good news is, the incidence of stroke is decreasing percentage-wise.  However, the risk factors for stroke are quite numerous, as it involves lifestyle conditions such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.

Strokes fall into two categories; an ischemic stroke which interrupts blood flow to the brain by a clot in the blood vessel; or a hemorrhagic stroke, resulting from a break or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. The causes for this disruption can be from high blood pressure or a brain aneurysm (weakness or thinness in the blood vessel wall causing it to balloon outward).

An ischemic stroke is like having a heart attack, only it deals with the brain instead. Any clots which can travel or lead to the brain is cause for concern. Since they block the flow of blood/oxygen to the brain, having too much plaque ( fatty deposits) or cholesterol can clog brain blood vessels. 80% of people who experience stroke usually get the ischemic kind and the other 20% indicate hemorrhagic strokes.

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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.