Understanding Stroke Risk Factors for Healthy People
You eat right, exercise, sleep well and avoid stress when you can. How could you possibly be at risk of having a stroke? Through preventive testing—rather than reactive testing—we can gain a better understanding of your unique stroke risks. Instead of discovering a problem 20 to 30 years too late, find out about your potential stroke triggers now while there is still time to change the course of your health.
How Healthy People Can Have Strokes
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Since brain cells begin to die in minutes, a stroke is a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment. Even though age is one of the biggest stroke risk factors, anyone of any age can have a stroke. In fact, according to the National Stroke Association, strokes are on the rise among younger adults, with 15 percent of strokes occurring in young adults and adolescents. On the bright side, know that 80 percent of strokes are preventable by making healthier lifestyle choices. At RevitaLife, we want to inspire our patients to capitalize on stroke prevention strategies at any age.
Mitigating Stroke Risks at Any Age
It is never too late to work toward reducing your risks of having a stroke. However, implementing stroke prevention strategies early in life is the best path to wellness, since it could take 20 to 30 years of practicing daily bad habits to cause a stroke. The best ways to reduce stroke risks include:
- Reducing high blood pressure, since a blood pressure of 120/80 or higher can damage arteries that supply blood to the brain
- Maintaining optimal heart health through healthy eating and regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Checking for diabetes and treating it accordingly
- Stopping smoking
- Stopping birth control pills
- Stopping illegal drug use
- Limiting alcohol consumption
Tests That Can Reveal Your Unique Stroke Risks
While most physicians simply look at a patient’s cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and other lab results to attempt to gauge stroke risks, we believe in a different approach to testing at RevitaLife. Understand this first: what causes a stroke or heart attack is a deceased vessel, like the carotid artery, in the neck. By using ultrasound technology to examine arterial health in the neck, we are able to see if plaque is creating blockages of blood flow. This test, called a carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test, measures the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries, which is a leading indicator of potential for stroke or heart disease. While we do also monitor lab results like those previously mentioned, we believe the CIMT test is invaluable since it is still possible for someone with normal lab results to have a stroke.
Other Stroke Risk Factors
We are only able to control 80 percent of our stroke risk factors. Age, gender, history of prior stroke, heredity or genetics and where you live all factor into your stroke risks. Strokes are more common among people living in the southeastern U.S. than in other areas. This may be because of regional and cultural differences in lifestyle, race, smoking habits and diet. Additionally, women have more strokes than men and strokes kill more women than men. If you have had a prior stroke, you are almost ten times more likely to have another stroke than someone who has not had one.
Learn how to start living your life in ways that reduce stroke risks. By working together with you one-on-one, we can assemble a personalized plan to have you in the best health of your life. Call us today at 850.436.4444 to request an appointment.