3 Tips For Dealing With An Elevated Stroke Risk

Unfortunately, stroke is a common cause of disability and death. This threat is magnified if stroke is common in your family. Although you cannot change your genetics, there are ways to minimize your controllable risks and be proactive.

Gain Control Over Chronic Disease

Some of the major controllable risk factors associated with stroke are diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. If you have been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions, it is imperative to keep your numbers under control. Making positive lifestyle changes, such as improving your diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and engaging in regular exercise, works for all chronic diseases. Although you may not be able to quit your chronic-disease medications, you may be able to limit the amount you take.

Even if you have not been diagnosed with a chronic disease, regular check-ups and blood work to monitor your numbers can help you notice changes before they reach dangerous levels. Chronic diseases can occur independently, even if you live a healthy lifestyle and are not overweight. Therefore, no one is immune to developing chronic diseases.

Have Your Carotid Artery Checked

Stroke can occur due to blockages anywhere within the cerebrovascular system or burst blood vessels within the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) or if a blood clot happens to travel to the brain. Although carotid artery screenings only focus on the major blood vessel leading to the brain, a screening may catch narrowing of the artery that is the culprit of some strokes. Fortunately, the procedure is easy and painless. Ultrasound is used to watch blood flow through the carotid artery. If any abnormalities are found, a surgeon can determine whether immediate treatment is required or whether it can be delayed. Narrowing of the carotid artery is usually treated with a stent to maintain blood flow to the brain.

Understand The Warning Signs

Knowing the warning signs of stroke and related conditions can mean the difference between little to no impairments or catastrophic damage. Some common symptoms associated with ischemic stroke are numbness and paralysis (typically on one side), slurred speech, headache, and confusion. The people around you should know how to recognize stroke symptoms in case you are not aware you are experiencing a problem. Hemorrhagic stroke can have similar symptoms, but the headache may be more intense, with nausea and vomiting. When treatment is rendered promptly, there are better stroke outcomes. In some cases of ischemic stroke, medications can be used to reverse symptoms if administered within the first few hours.

Stroke is a life-altering medical emergency, and its threat is magnified if you have a family history of the condition. Fortunately, being proactive about your risk factors can help you fight back against your genetics. For more information, contact a doctor who specializes in neurological services and treatment.