Anyone can suffer from stroke. Although many risk factors are out of our control, several can be kept in line through proper nutrition and medical care.
Risk factors for stroke include the following:
Heavy use of alcohol
Researchers from the University of Lille Nord de France, Lille, France, reported in the journal Neurology that heavy regular drinkers have a considerably higher risk of stroke early in life compared to others.
Middle-aged women with clinical depression have a higher risk of stroke, researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, reported in the journal Stroke.
The authors gathered data on 10,547 Australian females aged from 47 to 52 years. They found that women with depression are more likely to have a stroke by a factor of 2.4, compared to women without depression.
Even after taking into account known stroke risk factors, depressed middle-aged women were still 1.9 times more likely to have a stroke.
Caroline Jackson, Ph.D., said "When treating women, doctors need to recognize the serious nature of poor mental health and what effects it can have in the long-term. Current guidelines for stroke prevention tend to overlook the potential role of depression."
The researchers emphasized that although the risk was higher for women with depression, their total risk of stroke was still low.
What causes stroke?
Ischemic strokes are ultimately caused by a thrombus or embolus that blocks blood flow to the brain. Blood clots (thrombus clots) usually occur in areas of the arteries that have been damaged by atherosclerosis from a build-up of plaques.
Embolus type blood clots are often caused by atrial fibrillation - an irregular pattern of heart beat that leads to blood clot formation and poor blood flow.
Hemorrhagic strokes can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, a head injury, or aneurysms. High blood pressure is the most common cause of cerebral hemorrhage, as it causes small arteries inside the brain to burst. This deprives brain cells of blood and dangerously increases pressure on the brain.
Aneurysms - abnormal blood-filled pouches that balloon out from weak spots in the wall of an artery - are the most common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhage. If an aneurysm ruptures, blood spills into the space between the surfaces of the brain and skull, and blood vessels in the brain may spasm. Aneurysms are often caused or made worse by high blood pressure.
A study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics found a single gene defect can lead to stroke and deadly diseases of the aorta and coronary arteries.
A less common form of hemorrhage stroke is when an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) ruptures.
AVM is an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels that is present at birth.
What are the symptoms of stroke?
Within a few minutes of having a stroke brain cells begin to die and symptoms emerge. It is important to recognize the symptoms, as prompt treatment is crucial to recovery.
Common symptoms include:
Smaller strokes (or silent strokes), however, may not cause any symptoms, but can still damage brain tissue.
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) may be a sign of an impending stroke - TIA is a temporary interruption in blood flow to part of the brain. Symptoms of TIA are similar to stroke but last for a shorter period and do not leave noticeable permanent damage.
Mon to Fri: 8 AM - 6 PM
Saturday: 9 AM - 12 PM
Lunch: 12 PM - 1 PM
SmartCare Health and Diagnostics
220 Scuffletown Road, Simpsonville, SC - 29681