While physicians and scientists continue to make strides in treating stroke, your best defense is prevention. The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent it! Stroke is the most preventable of all medical catastrophes.
While physicians and scientists continue to make strides in treating stroke, your best defense is prevention. Talk to your doctor about the following risk factors:
Age — Your risk for stroke doubles each decade after age 35, and most strokes occur after age 65.
High blood pressure — Nearly 70 percent of stroke victims have high blood pressure.
Irregular heartbeat –About 15 percent of patients have atrial fibrillation, a condition that can cause an irregular heartbeat. When treated, the risk of stroke for this group declines by as much as 70 percent.
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease — The buildup of cholesterol inside arteries is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack.
Smoking — Smoking, among other harmful effects, accelerates the buildup of cholesterol in arteries.
Diabetes –Diabetes prevents patients from processing fat as efficiently as possible, which can lead to heart problems and increased risk for stroke.
Race — For reasons that are unclear, African-Americans have one of the highest stroke rates in the world.
There are many important steps that people can take to help prevent a first stroke or to prevent a recurrence. Healthy lifestyle choices are an especially important way to help prevent a stroke. People should keep their weight down by adhering to low-fat diets. Individuals should not smoke or stop smoking if they do. It is helpful to undergo regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar according to a doctor’s recommendations. If one is on medication, especially for high blood pressure, he/she should be sure to take it exactly as directed.
Snoring can sometimes be associated with a sleep disturbance that predisposes to stroke and heart attack. This is particularly true in overweight men. If one’s bed-partner snores excessively, seems to gasp for air or appears to stop breathing, he/she should ask a doctor to consider obtaining a sleep study.
A new study showing that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) did not protect a group of post-menopausal women against heart attacks may cause unnecessary confusion for women taking hormones. The study, published in the October 1 Annals of Internal Medicine, was well done, but there were limitations in its design. But because most studies to date support the idea that HRT protects against heart disease, this study is an aberrant piece of a much larger puzzle. Read more