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Stroke Prevention

Avoiding stroke and TIA

Who’s at risk of stroke and TIA?

A stroke happens when something disturbs blood flow to the brain. Blood vessels may have narrowing, furring, hardening or weakening, each of which can affect blood flow. Or the disturbance may occur because the blood is thicker and more likely to clot than usual. The cause of these disturbances can be prevented or reduced by making lifestyle changes.
There are some risk factors for stroke that cannot be changed, including:

Age

You’re more likely to have a stroke if you’re over the age of 65. However, about a quarter of strokes happen in younger people.

Family history

If a close relative (parent, grandparent, brother or sister) has had a stroke, your risk is likely to be higher.

Ethnicity

If you’re South Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher, partly because rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are higher in these groups.

Your medical history

If you’ve previously had a stroke, TIA or heart attack, your risk of stroke is higher.

However, many of the major risk factors for stroke can be reduced by making lifestyle changes or taking the right medication. These risks include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure). This is the major, treatable risk factor for stroke
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Drinking more than the recommended amounts of alcohol

Rarer risk factors are normally related to genetic problems, blood disorders, antibody abnormalities, migraine and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to beat irregularly and blood can collect in the chambers of your heart. Because the blood isn’t moving, it may clot, and the strong flow of blood out of the heart may carry the clot (thrombosis) into the brain where it can lead to a stroke.
Your doctor can tell whether or not you have atrial fibrillation by checking your pulse. It can be confirmed, or ruled out, by an electrocardiogram (ECG). This is a test that records the different phases of the heartbeat. If you have atrial fibrillation, talk to your doctor about what treatment is right for you.

For further information and advice please contact Tendring Stroke Survivors and Carers Support Service on: 01255 815916

 

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