Preventing stroke; Stroke - prevention; CVA - prevention; TIA - prevention
A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain suddenly stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack or cerebrovascular accident." If blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get nutrients and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing lasting damage.
Risk factors are things that increase your chance of getting a disease or condition. This article discusses the risk factors for stroke and things you can do to lessen your risk.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or health problem. Some risk factors for stroke you cannot change. Some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.
You cannot change these stroke risk factors:
Blood clots from the heart may travel to and block the blood vessels in the brain and cause a stroke. This may happen in people with manmade or infected heart valves. It may also happen because of a heart defect you were born with.
A very weak heart and abnormal heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation, can also cause blood clots.
Some risk factors for stroke that you can change are:
Birth control pills (particularly the estrogen content) can raise your risk of blood clots. Clots are more likely in women who also smoke and who are older than 35. Talk with your doctor about other birth control options that do not increase the risk of blood clots.
Good nutrition is important to your heart health. It will help control some of your risk factors.
Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another blood thinner to help prevent blood clots from forming. Do not take aspirin without talking to your doctor first. If you are taking these medicines, take steps to prevent yourself from falling or tripping, which can lead to bleeding.
Follow these guidelines and the advice of your doctor to lower your chances of stroke.
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Biller J, Schneck MJ, Ruland S. Ischemic cerebrovascular disease. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 65.
Campbell BCV, Khatri P. Stroke. Lancet. 2020;396(10244):129-142. PMID: 32653056 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32653056/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/28/2021
Reviewed By: Evelyn O. Berman, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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