Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., but by understanding your risk factors, you can reduce the chances of it happening to you. At Englewood Community Hospital, our stroke center offers the ER care you need in an emergency and the support you need during recovery. What are your odds of having a stroke? Here are some of the factors that increase stroke risk.
Although strokes can and do happen in patients of all ages, the risk increases dramatically with age. For every decade of life after age 55, your stroke risk doubles. Age is a stroke risk factor that you can’t change. Race and gender also fall into this category. Stroke risk is highest in African-Americans and in women. Although you can’t change these risk factors, being aware of them can make you more vigilant about your overall health and recognizing the signs of stroke.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke. It is also one of the easiest risk factors to control. If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment plan closely. Take your medication as directed and stick to any dietary restrictions suggested by your doctor. Curbing your intake of sodium can help to control your blood pressure, as can getting regular exercise.
Being a smoker is a significant risk factor for stroke. In fact, according to the National Stroke Association, smokers have twice the risk of stroke compared to nonsmokers. That risk goes up even more for smokers who are also taking oral contraceptives. Smoking increases stroke risk by reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood and increasing buildup in your arteries that can interfere with blood flow.
Stroke is a medical emergency. If you think you or someone you love is having a stroke, get to the emergency room at Englewood Community Hospital right away. We can provide crucial emergency care to save brain tissue. To find our more about our stroke care and other services at our hospital, call (888) 658-1598.