Risk Factors for Stroke
- Age: The chance of having a stroke approximately doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, a lot of people under 65 also have strokes.
- Heredity/Race: Your stroke risk is greater if a parent, grandparent, sister or brother has had a stroke. African-Americans have a higher risk of death from a stroke than Caucasians.
- Gender: Stroke is more common in men than in women, but more than half of total stroke deaths occur in women.
- Health Conditions: Having high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or high blood cholesterol raise your risk of stroke.
- Prior Stroke, TIA, or Heart Attack: The risk of stroke is many times greater for someone who has already had one. Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage, and if you’ve had one or more TIAs, you’re 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t. If you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk of having a stroke, too.
Warning Signs of Stroke
- sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you, or someone near you should experience these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1.
Facts About Stroke
- About 795,000 Americans each year have a stroke.
- Stroke kills more than 137,000 people a year, making it the third leading cause of death, after diseases of the heart and cancer.
- About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.
Source: American Stroke Association
Do you have any personal stories about suffering from stroke? How has it affected your life? Tell us below in the comments!
Ann Pietrangelo is the author of “No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis,” a memoir. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Author’s Guild, and a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo