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Understanding the lifestyle risk factor of a stroke

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. Because stroke occurs rapidly and requires immediate treatment, stroke is also called a brain attack. The effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is injured, and how severely it is injured. Strokes may cause sudden weakness, loss of sensation, or difficulty with speaking, seeing, or walking. Since different parts of the brain control different areas and functions, it is usually the area immediately surrounding the stroke that is affected.

Stroke prevention starts with knowing your risk. A person may modify their lifestyle in order to change or treat some risk factors that one may have, but there will always be factors that we can not change.

Lifestyle risk factory that you may change:

1. High blood pressure- This is the single most important risk factor for stroke because it’s the leading cause of stroke. Know your blood pressure and have it checked regularly.

2. Smoking- Smoking damages blood vessels. This can lead to blockages within those blood vessels, causing a stroke. Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke

3. Diabetes- Having diabetes more than doubles your risk of stroke. Work with your doctor to manage diabetes.

4. High cholesterol- High cholesterol increases the risk of blocked arteries.

5. Obesity - Being inactive, obese, or both, can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke

6. Excessive alcohol intake- Drinking an average of more than one drink per day for women or more than two drinks a day for men can raise blood pressure. Binge drinking may lead to stroke.

7. Illegal drug use- Drugs including cocaine, ecstasy amphetamines, and heroin are associated with an increased risk of stroke.

Other risk factors that we can not change:

1. Hereditary- People whose close blood relations have had a stroke have a higher risk of stroke.

2. Age- Stroke affects people of all ages. But the older you are, the greater your stroke risk.

3. Gender- According to studies, women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men do.

4. Prior stroke- Someone who has had a stroke is at higher risk of having another one.

By having regular medical checkups and knowing your risk, you can focus on what you can change and lower your risk of stroke and attain a better health.

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