Stroke Risk Factors

Strokes are the # 1 cause of long-term disability and the 3rd-leading cause of death in the U.S. Because of the potentially life-altering outcome of stroke, it’s critical to make every effort to avoid stroke, and if one does occur, to act quickly to limit long-term damage and bring back functionality. There are a number of known risk factors for stroke that, if controlled, can dramatically reduce the chances of stroke or long-term negative effects.

Known Risk Factors for Stroke

Risks of stroke come from multiple directions, and decreasing risk should be a multipronged approach. Some risks include:

Medical risk factors

Medical issues are challenging to overcome, and your efforts should be guided by a medical expert. Medical conditions that increase the risk of stroke include:

  • Diabetes and high blood pressure, which damage blood vessels

  • Cancer, which is associated with a 20% increase in stroke risk

  • Heart disease

  • High cholesterol, which sticks to walls of blood vessels, narrowing arteries or breaking off and creating clots

  • Inherited blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease

  • Hemophilia and other blood clotting diseases

  • Certain medications

  • Hospital stay and surgery

Lifestyle risk factors

Lifestyle choices, including the following, can significantly increase the risk of stroke and should be eliminated or decreased:

  • Heavy smoking

  • Heavy alcohol consumption

  • Obesity

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Poor diet

Food risk factors

Certain foods increase inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure, in particular additives such as trans fats, high sodium, preservatives, and sugar. Foods high in these components include:

  • Processed baked items

  • Processed and smoked meats

  • Diet soda

  • Canned soups

In addition, red meat is high in saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol, and should be eaten in moderation.

Surprising risk factors

Extreme neck and head stretching can damage blood vessels or loosen clots. Surprising examples may include a vigorous shampooing at a salon; advanced yoga positions like shoulder stands or headstands; whiplash; chiropractic manipulation; hard coughs or sneezes. Keep your neck, head, and shoulders protected, and provide cushion and protection when doing anything that moves the neck in an extreme or sudden manner.

Decreasing the risk of severe outcomes from stroke

People with a high risk of stroke need to be closely monitored at all times, even as they are working to decrease their risk. It’s important to provide an effective technological way to monitor patients 24/7 to prevent delays in responding to stroke symptoms. This is our goal at Neuralert.

Neuralert’s Stroke Detection Monitor combines a unique, non-invasive wristband technology with a state-of-the-art patented algorithm developed by the University of Pennsylvania to detect asymmetry in arm movement, one of the initial indications of stroke onset. Contact us today at (215) 898-9591 to discuss how Neuralert can help your medical facility or practice improve your patient outcomes and reduce the significant damage that delayed stroke detection can cause.