Stroke risk factors – Controllable and Uncontrollable.

Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped or reduced to a great extent, which further leads to the death of brain cells. It can happen to anyone of any age group. Certain risk factors contribute to an increase in the chances of stroke.

There are two types of stroke risk factors viz. controllable and uncontrollable. 

We shall explain it to you below.

Stroke Risk Factors that can be Controlled

As the name suggests, such risks you can control by modifying lifestyle, or with the help of treatment with medicines. 

Lifestyle risk factors that contribute to stroke

Obesity and weight gain- Being overweight and obese can increase blood pressure and increase your cholesterol levels. Obesity makes you prone to a heart attack.

Cigarette smoking and tobacco use- Nicotine deposits can damage the blood vessels, cause blood clotting, and cut down oxygen levels in the blood. Smoking can also increase blood pressure.

Overconsumption of alcohol- Excessive use of alcohol is not healthy for your heart. It increases the risk of stroke by all means.

Unhealthy diet: A diet rich in saturated fats, carbohydrates, and cholesterol contributes to weight gain and stroke risk to a considerable extent.

Lack of exercise- If you are physically inactive, you are at a higher risk of having a stroke. Lack of exercise negatively affects blood circulation and the body’s metabolism.

Stress, anxiety, depression- These three things are some of the most dangerous culprits that escalate your sudden stroke chances.

Medical risk factors that can be treated with medicines

High blood pressure – The most common reason behind stroke is high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure can damage blood vessels.

High cholesterol- Bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol deposits inside the arteries are primarily responsible for strokes. It can lead to the formation of plaque inside the arteries.

Atrial fibrillation: It is characterized by an irregular heartbeat wherein the left chamber of the heart can have over 400 beats per minute. This puts one highly to the risk of stroke.

Diabetes – Doctors say that untreated diabetes makes one vulnerable to vascular diseases. The walls of the arteries harden and endanger one towards having a stroke.

Atherosclerosis- The gradual build-up of plaque or fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis clogs the arteries and blocks blood flow to the brain as well as other parts of the body, thereby increasing the risk of stroke.

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)- It’s a mini-stroke that lasts for a few minutes and then disappears, leaving behind the risk of future stroke. TIA is a warning signal.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)- some arteries of the body fail to develop normally due to fibrous tissue growth on their walls. The arteries narrow down as a result of which blood supply to the brain is decreased.

Carotid artery disease- fatty deposits form in the carotid arteries – arteries of the neck that supply blood to the brain, thereby blocking blood circulation

Peripheral artery disease- a blockage in the blood supply of peripheral arteries (arteries of arms and legs) can also trigger stroke.

Sickle cell anemia- genetic disorder wherein the RBCs become “sickled.” They stick to the walls of blood vessels, thereby blocking blood flow inside the arteries to the brain.

Stroke Risk Factors that cannot be Controlled

The following factors are not within the control of a person, and they also contribute to having a stroke. 

They include:

  • Age- Stroke can happen at any age. However, the risk doubles after 55 years of age
  • Gender – More women die out of stroke than men
  • Family History- If any member of your family has a history of stroke, you may be vulnerable too
  • Previous history of heart attack, stroke, and TIA- If you have had it before, then the second attack will likely occur.

Studies say that 80% of strokes can be prevented when one is aware of the risk factors and makes an attempt to control them.