Preventing the Coming Stroke Epidemic: Major Risk Factors and Lifestyle Changes You Should Make
If you have followed the health news lately, there is an alarming rise in the number of stroke cases all across the globe – including children and young adults. Concerning new data from the Lancet Neurology Commission and World Stroke Organization indicates that the number of stroke deaths annually could rise from 6.6 million in 2020 to a startling 9.7 million by 2050. This demonstrates the critical necessity to address the primary stroke risk factors and modify lifestyle choices to lower risk. Speaking close to home data, the best doctors in Vadodara have also shown the need for the proper understanding of what is causing this and how it can be avoided.
What Causes Stroke?
When a portion of the brain’s blood supply is cut off or drastically decreased, the brain’s tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, which can lead to a stroke. This may occur as a result of a blood vessel burst or leak (hemorrhagic stroke) or an artery blockage (ischemic stroke). According to the best general physician in Ahmedabad the following symptoms can be that of a stroke:
- Numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body, in the arm, leg, or face
- Perplexity, difficulty understanding or speaking
- Issues with one or both eyes’ vision
- Walking difficulties, lightheadedness, imbalance, or lack of coordination
- Intense headache without apparent cause
- Absence of awareness
Major Risk Factors for Stroke
High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the primary cause of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. Elevated blood pressure weakens, stiffens, and increases the risk of blockage and rupture of blood vessels. As blood pressure rises, there is a significant increase in the risk of stroke. Medication, cutting down on salt, exercise, weight loss if overweight, cutting back on alcohol, giving up smoking, and stress management are a few strategies to lower blood pressure.
Stroke can result from a number of heart diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, enlarged heart chambers, and abnormalities with the heart valves. Due to these conditions, blood clots can develop in the heart and move down the arteries to obstruct blood flow to the brain. Lowering the risk of stroke can be achieved by managing heart disease with medication, surgery, or lifestyle modifications. Prescription drugs that thin the blood are also frequently used to avoid blood clots.
Diabetes virtually doubles the risk of stroke, particularly if blood sugar levels are regularly raised. Uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of clotting by damaging blood vessels and neurons throughout the body. For diabetic people, controlling blood sugar levels strictly with medicine, food, and exercise is essential to lowering their risk of stroke.
Obesity and Lack of Physical Activity
Obesity and excess weight put strain on the heart and metabolism, increasing blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation. Additionally, being overweight raises the risk of atrial fibrillation and heart disease. Physical inactivity exacerbates problems even more. Frequent exercise strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, increases good cholesterol, and helps control weight—all of which help prevent stroke. Exercise, even mild to moderate, lowers risk.
Cigarette smoking causes blood to become stickier and more prone to clotting, increases blood pressure, and encourages the accumulation of fatty deposits in arteries. In fact, passive smoking also impacts the health. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a 2-4 times higher risk of stroke. Within five years of giving up smoking, risk is significantly reduced.
Did you know air pollution can also add to the risk of strokes?
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Stroke
- Following a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Losing excess weight
- Limiting alcohol and quit smoking
- Monitoring the blood pressure regular
The risk of stroke can appear complicated and multifaceted. However, you can lower your risk of stroke by concentrating on changing one aspect of your lifestyle at a time. Don’t forget to routinely see your doctor about stroke prevention and to get health screenings.