Stroke is not on its own a disease entity rather an end stage of certain chronic diseases and other circulatory/metabolic derangement. There are risk factors that can lead to or increase the chances of one developing stroke. However, some of the risk factors can be eliminated while some can only be minimized. Controllable risk factors include.
Causes of Stroke
Hypertension: Hypertension is the most important controllable risk factor. Hypertension gives rise to hemorrhagic (bleeding) type of stroke by increasing the force of blood which may lead to bursting of one or more of the brain arteries as its attendant consequence. It also leads to ischaemic type of stroke through the narrowing (arteriosclerosis) of the pressured blood vessels. Therefore preventing hypertension is as good as preventing stroke
Diabetes: Diabetes is the twin brother of hypertension. Recent research has shown that diabetes doubles the risk of stroke through weakening of the blood vessels as well as the heart. Its effects on the heart increase the chances of blood clot formation and possible blockage of the brain arteries.
Family History of Stroke: As hypertension and diabetes run in families so does stroke. African tradition and most religion attribute sudden death to evil spells of the wicked. Please note this; if your parents or any of your parents had died suddenly, perhaps, said to have slept and never woke up or developed sudden weakness of hands, lapsed into coma and died, do not swallow the story hook-line-and-sinker. Find out of the actual cause of death because the same have died of stroke.
High Cholesterol (Fat): High Cholesterol in the body or high fat intake can lead to coronary (heart) artery disease and heart attack, which can damage the heart muscles and increase the risk of stroke through increased formation of blood clot in the circulation. Also heart diseases like atrial fibrillation, endocarditis, heart valve diseases and cardiomyopathy can increase the risk of stroke. Furthermore, high cholesterol is the most common factor in atherosclerosis, a process in which fatty deposits are formed in the wall of blood vessels of the brain and thereby narrowing the blood vessel.
Cigarette Smoking: Death may never have gotten hold of mankind if not for some biological derangement (natural and man-made) that occur in human systems. Cigarette Smoking, however, is one of the man-made death inducers. Research has proved without doubt that cigarette smoking increases the risk of stroke by two and half times. Nicotine, which is the major component of tobacco, causes vaso-constriction (narrowing of the arteries) thereby increasing the chances of blockage of the vessels and stroke. It also increases weakening and damage of the blood vessels. Cigarette smoking is a life-threatening habit as constantly emphasized by the World Health Organization: Smokers are Liable to DIE Young.
Lack of Physical activity, Over-weight or Obesity: A new large study shows that lack of physical activity and obesity significantly increases the risk of stroke, partly by increasing the three greatest risk of stroke, partly by increasing the three greater risk factors for stroke; Hypertension, Heart diseases and diabetes. Study has shown that the more physically active an individual, the greater the reduction in this risk; moderately active people had a 20% lower risk; moderately active people had a 20% lower risk than inactive people and highly active people has 34% reduction of risk.
Age: This is the most important natural factor in stroke. The risk of stroke increases with age. Stroke occurs mostly after 65 years of age. This however depends on the other risk factors mentioned so far. Interestingly, the theory of free radicals now helps us to know what to do to prevent or delay ageing process.
Race/Gender: Study has shown that there is a racial and sex difference on the prevalence of stroke. In America,for instance, more African Americans and Hispanics have higher risk of stroke thank those of other races. Also on gender ratio, stroke is more common in men than women. However, at old age, more women than men have stroke at all ages, more women than men die of stroke.
Previous History of Stroke or TIA: It has been found that 14% of people who have stroke have a second stroke within one year. This is why it is necessary to know what it takes to prevent re-occurrence. The truth is that stroke is completely a preventable diseases.