strokeWith 80% of strokes being preventable, it’s important to consider lifestyle behaviors that could affect your chances of having one.
Stroke – the fifth leading killer in the United States – is the most common cause of disability in adults, affecting nearly 800,000 Americans every year.

There are three types of stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An ischemic stroke is when blood supply to the brain is blocked by a clot. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Either type can lead to brain damage or death. The third type is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini stroke,” which occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped for a short time, usually less than five minutes. A TIA is a warning sign of a future stroke.

Stroke can affect the entire body, with complete paralysis on one side of the body – called hemiplegia – being a common disability. Stroke can also cause one-sided weakness or hemiparesis.

The American Stroke Association says that most stroke victims have high blood pressure (normal blood pressure is below 120/80). One out of six adults with high blood pressure are not aware they have it.

Stroke Prevention

Having high blood pressure is by far the most controllable risk factor for stroke, but the following conditions or lifestyles also make stroke a more likely occurrence:

  • Smoking: Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide and nicotine, which both set the stage for stroke.
  • High blood cholesterol: Excess cholesterol can build up in the arteries, potentially causing blood clots and stroke.
  • Obesity: Being overweight is linked to the stroke risk factors of high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Diabetes: Many individuals with diabetes are also overweight, have high blood pressure and cholesterol, all of which puts them at even greater risk for stroke.
  • Being inactive: Not exercising increases the risk of all major stroke risk factors, so try to get at least 30 minutes of activity most days.

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