Can You Predict Your Risk of Having a Stroke?
A number of factors are known to have good predictive value for whether someone will have a stroke. Some of these involve a person’s inborn characteristics, while others are related to controllable factors of one’s lifestyle. Together, the following factors can provide a good risk assessment for the likelihood of experiencing a stroke.
Smoking and Alcohol Use
As a provider of senior home care in Cincinnati, we encourage healthy lifestyle practices such as abstaining from smoking and drinking. When done in excess, both are related to a variety of serious health issues, including stroke. Smoking more than doubles the risk and heavy alcohol consumption is strongly associated with having a fatal stroke. Reduce the risk by giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
Diet and Exercise
Being obese or even overweight nearly doubles the risk of stroke. For approximately every 7 lbs a person is overweight, the risk increases by 6%. That means, for example, a person who is 21 lbs overweight has an increased stroke risk of 18%. A sedentary lifestyle is also a risk factor for stroke, which means physical activity, like walking, can help to reduce risk and manage weight. For seniors who need help with following a diet and exercise plan, consider help from a professional hourly or live-in caregiver in Cincinnati who can provide assistance and encouragement on a regular basis.
High Blood Pressure
Perhaps the biggest culprit in terms of stroke risk is high blood pressure, a serious medical condition that must be properly managed to avoid dangerous health issues ranging from stroke to heart attack and kidney damage. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke by four to six times. Fortunately, blood pressure is readily managed with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)
Often not diagnosed until after a medical problem has occurred, Afib is a specific type of irregular heartbeat that can cause stroke risk to increase five-fold. Afib generally increases the likelihood of clots forming, which in turn can enter the brain and cause a stroke. The condition can be managed once diagnosed, generally with anticoagulant medication, which can lessen Afib-related stroke risk by 68%.
Age, Gender, and Family History
Stroke risk increases with age, starting at about 55. Men have a higher overall risk, but women are more likely to have a fatal stroke. Family history of stroke or heart attack can help predict risk, especially for families with genetic disorders related to blood flow and the brain.
No one can predict with perfect accuracy which individuals will have a stroke. Nevertheless, these are all factors that merit serious consideration if you or a loved one is concerned about the risk of having a stroke. If you have an aging parent or loved one who has suffered a stroke and you are interested in learning more about stroke recovery, care and prevention for stroke recurrence, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Cincinnati stroke home care and are available 24/7 to answer questions and can also help you schedule a free consultation to learn more about our care services. Call 513-891-2273 to speak with a friendly Care Manager today.