Heart disease and stroke are the top causes of death each year. There are risk factors for stroke that we can’t change, including a person’s age, heredity, sex and having previously suffered a heart attack or mini-stroke. Stroke is more common among people over age 55. But younger people – including infants and children – can have a stroke as well.
When it comes to medical conditions, there are certain risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of getting a specific disease. The good news is that there are certain risk factors that we do have influence over when it comes to stroke prevention. Understanding your risk factors, following doctor’s advice and living a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to prevent stroke. Focus on controlling or treating the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Sickle cell anemia
- High cholesterol
Your lifestyle also plays a large role in your health. Smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol and drug abuse and even socioeconomic factors increase your risk of having a stroke. Make the decision to have a healthier heart and stronger body by making changes to your daily life. Eat a healthy diet, stop smoking and get plenty of exercise to reduce the risk factors for stroke. Obesity and excess weight strain the cardiovascular system and increase the chance of developing high blood pressure or diabetes.
Also, be proactive when it comes to your healthcare. Know what your blood pressure is by getting it checked regularly. High blood pressure can sneak up on you without warning or symptoms. Even though stroke is more common in men than women, using birth control pills or hormone therapies with estrogen can cause stroke. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you have other risk factors.
If you’ve had a stroke, your doctor may recommend medication aimed at preventing stroke. Blood thinners are commonly used to reduce the risk of a second stroke. Blood thinners include anti-platelet drugs, anticoagulants or aspirin therapy. These drugs can prevent blood clots from forming by thinning the blood. It is important to have your dosage monitored often to prevent bleeding and bruising.
For more information about stroke prevention and rehabilitation, visit Plaza Medical Center online or call us at 817-877-5292 for a physician referral in the Fort Worth area.