Our brain is a crucial part of the nervous system that controls all bodily functions, interprets sensations, analysis information, stores that information, and governs cognitive development. Regardless of its extensive functionality, our brain is vulnerable to damage and interruption of blood supply. Complete blockage of the blood supply (ischemia) to the brain for merely a few minutes can cause severe brain damage and numerous health issues.
A stroke or brain attack is ischemic damage to the brain that occurs due to blockage or rupture of the blood supply to part of the brain. Because of the loss of blood supply, the brain cells can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients from the blood and start deteriorating.
Are You At Risk For Stroke?
Various factors can increase your risk for stroke, and understanding the risk factors is the key to preventing it. The stroke often happens suddenly, and Less than 1/3rd of the stroke cases have any warning signs. The following are the few factors that can increase your risk for stroke:
Risk factors you can control: With the understanding of these risk factors, anyone can reduce the chances of having a stroke by controlling them. The following are factors that you can modify:
- High blood pressure: It is the most crucial risk factor. The continuous high blood pressure levels can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain and can lead to stroke.
- High cholesterol: Increased cholesterol levels in our blood can lead to plaque build-up in the blood vessels and can cause clogging. A stroke can occur if this clogging disrupts the blood supply to the brain.
- Heart diseases: People suffering from cardiovascular diseases or conditions are prone to brain stroke. Cerebral stroke is also a cause of death in stroke-recovered patients.
- Diabetes: Diabetics are more prone to develop a stroke than non-diabetics, as high sugar levels can speed up the narrowing of the arteries.
- Smoking: Heavy smoking or smoking from a young age increases your risk of ischemic stroke by damaging blood vessels.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of exercise and being obese increase the risk of stroke and coronary artery diseases.
- Unhealthy dietary habits: Diet rich in high salt and saturated fats, such as processed food, packed snacks, or red meat, causes an increase in fatty substances and cholesterol levels, which are prime risk factors for cerebral stroke.
- Alcohol consumption: Excessive drinking of alcohol can increase the blood pressure and cholesterol levels that make you prone to cerebral stroke.
- Illegal drug abuse: Intake of various narcotics via oral or intravenous route carries a greater risk of life-threatening diseases and conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular problems.
- History of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs): If you previously had TIAs, you are prone to stroke in later life.
- Other factors: Stress, high red blood cell count, hormonal replacement therapy during menopause, long-term use of oral contraceptives, or living in extreme temperatures can increase the risk of stroke.
Risk Factors that you cannot control: The following are a few unchangeable factors that increase the chances of stroke in a person:
- Age: With the increase in age, the chance of getting a stroke elevates.
- Gender: Men have a higher prevalence of cerebral stroke, but death from stroke occurs more frequently in women.
- History of the previous stroke: The risk of a second stroke is higher if you had a stroke once.
- Hereditary: Those with a family history of stroke are more likely to have a cerebral stroke.
We can prevent stroke by controlling the risk factors and improving our quality of life.