Stroke/TIA Risk Factors
The following is a list of stroke risk factors that can be changed, treated, or controlled.
High Blood Pressure
Cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system in many ways. The use of oral contraceptives, combined with cigarette smoking, greatly increases stroke risk. Quitting smoking now can significantly reduce your risk of future stroke.
Diabetes mellitus is an independent risk factor for stroke. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and are overweight.
Carotid or Other Artery Disease
The carotid arteries in your neck supply blood to your brain. A carotid artery narrowed by fatty deposits from atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in artery walls) may become blocked by a blood clot.
Atrial Fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder, the heart quivers instead of beating effectively. This can lead to abnormal blood pooling and clotting. If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results.
Other Heart Diseases
High Blood Cholesterol
People with high blood cholesterol have an increased risk for stroke. If your total cholesterol is elevated (greater than 200), you should talk to your doctor about ways to lower it. Diet, exercise, and medication can all be effective in lowering cholesterol levels.
- Cholesterol Medication
- Controlling High Cholesterol
- Controlling High Cholesterol – Spanish
Diets high in saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in sodium (salt) can contribute to increased blood pressure. Diets with excess calories can contribute to obesity. On the other hand, a diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke.
- Changing Recipes
- Eating Out Tips
- Healthy Cooking
- Healthy Cooking – Spanish
- Healthy Diet
- Healthy Diet – Spanish
- Reading Food Labels
Physical Inactivity and Obesity
Being inactive, obese, or both can increase your risk of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. As little as thirty minutes of activity, three times a week can help reduce your risk of stroke.