OHVC Health Topics
What risk factors for stroke can’t be changed?
Age — The chance of having a stroke more than doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, a lot of people under 65 also have strokes.
Heredity (family history) and race — Your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke. African Americans have a much higher risk of death from a stroke than Caucasians to higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes in this group.
Sex (gender) — Stroke is more common in men than in women. However, more than half of total stroke deaths occur in women. Use of birth control pills and pregnancy pose special stroke risks for women.
Prior stroke, TIA or heart attack — The risk of stroke for someone who has already had one is many times that of a person who has not. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) are “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. A person who’s had one TIAs is 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t.
What stroke risk factors can be changed, treated or controlled?
High blood pressure — High blood pressure or hypertension is the number one cause of stroke. High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels of the brain.
Cigarette smoking — Tobacco use in any form, especially cigarette smoking, is very bad for your health. In recent years, studies have shown cigarette smoking to be an important risk factor for stroke. The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk in women.
Diabetes mellitus — Diabetes is a risk factor for stroke. While diabetes is treatable, the presence of the disease still increases your risk of stroke. Diabetes causes disease of small blood vessels in the brain and can lead to a stroke.
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-ups in artery walls) may become blocked by a blood clot. Carotid artery disease is also called carotid artery stenosis.
Peripheral artery disease is the narrowing of blood vessels carrying blood to leg and arm muscles.. People with peripheral artery disease have a higher risk of carotid artery disease, which raises their risk of stroke. If you were not tested for PAD while in the hospital, the cardiologist from Ohio Heart & Vascular Consultants will perform a complete series of test to screen for other problems.
Atrial fibrillation — This heart rhythm disorder raises the risk for stroke. The heart’s upper chambers quiver instead of beating regularly, which can let the blood clot. If a clot breaks off, it can result in a stroke results.
Other heart disease — Over 50% of strokes are caused from heart disorders. Dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged, weak heart), heart valve disease and some types of congenital heart defects also raise the risk of stroke.
High blood cholesterol —. High blood cholesterol can be reduced by eating right (avoid fried, fatty foods) and exercising routinely. It may also require medication.
Physical inactivity and obesity — Being inactive, obese or both can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So go on a brisk walk, take the stairs, and do whatever you can to make your life more active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days of the week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity, three days a week, with your doctor’s approval.
What you should know: Personal risk factors for stroke
Phone: (419) 794-7700
Dr. Charles Gbur is an interventional cardiologist with a special interest in peripheral vascular disease and stroke. He is the only physician in the area who is certified by the Society of Carddiovascular Angiography and Interventions to perform acute stroke interventions and Neuro rescue techniques. The same skills he has used for years to save hearts is now being applied to save brains and prevent the complications of stroke.
If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical service (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you. Do not drive yourself.
What to look for: Warning signs and symptoms of stroke
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
What to do if you’re having symptoms: Activation of the Emergency Medical System (EMS)
• Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don’t ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away!
• Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start?
• If you’re with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. Expect the person to resist going to the hospital. Don’t take “no” for an answer because Time Lost is Brain Lost.
• When communicating with EMS or the hospital make sure and use the word STROKE.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or a blood vessel breaks causing brain cells in the blood vessel territory to die. Brain cells do not regenerate. The problems experienced after a stroke like the inability to move one side of the body like before, numbness on one side of the body, speech or visual problems are usually a result of brain cells that have died due to stroke. Persons who have had one stroke are at risk of having another stroke. It is important that you practice secondary prevention of stroke now, and this Stroke education sheet will help you and your family do just that. Please be sure to ask us any questions about this information or any other questions about your health.
OHVC Stoke Program….