Ten risk factors contributing to strokes
A recent study suggests that 90 percent of strokes are the result of 10 risk factors.
Conducted by the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario Canada, this study found that those individuals demonstrating one or more risk factors, ranging from hypertension and stress to abdominal obesity and diabetes, are at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke than those who do not.
Similar to the risks involved with cardiovascular diseases, these 10 leading stroke risk factors include: high blood pressure, cholesterol, inactivity, abdominal obesity, smoking, poor diet, heart disease, stress and alcohol consumption.
According to the American Stroke Association, there are two main types of strokes: ischemic strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked, and hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when an artery within the brain bursts. All 10 of the identified risk factors were linked to ischemic strokes, but only high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and diet were linked to hemorrhagic.
While the study found that high blood pressure was most notably the highest risk factor, inactivity, smoking, obesity and cholesterol were among the top five. These findings seem to suggest that a person's specific lifestyle choices can place them at definitively higher risk of experiencing a stroke.
As the third leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of long term disability, strokes have had a profound impact on the daily lives of individuals throughout the globe. This study helps further draw a correlation between lifestyle habits and occurrence of strokes, a correlation which may ultimately help lower the number of annual stroke occurrences.
By targeting certain key lifestyle factors, an individual may be able to reduce their risk of experiencing a stroke. Researchers of the study also suggest that reducing a patient's blood pressure, promoting smoking cessation, and encouraging physical activity could lead to an overall reduction in the number of stroke cases each year.
While the Population Health Research Institute study offered 10 risk factors based on lifestyle, the American Stroke Association (ASA) has identified five additional factors based on age, heredity, race, gender and medical history. Patients who demonstrate any of these risk factors are also encouraged to invest in preventive health screenings
According to the ASA, when an individual surpasses the age of 55, their risk of stroke doubles every decade. People with a family history of stroke, which can include parent, grandparent or siblings who have had a stroke, are also at a much greater risk. In terms of race and gender, African Americans experience more strokes than Caucasians and strokes are more common in men than in women.
Together, these lists of risk factors can play a key role in earlier detection and preventive health screening
. Through recognizing the risks and warning signs of a stroke, patients can often reduce the negative effects.