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10 Risk Factors for Stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in North America.  It is a medical emergency.  Researchers estimate every year approximately 500,000 Americans have a first stroke and approximately 20-percent die within 30-days.  The two types of stroke are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.  The most common type of stroke is ischemic (85-percent) and occurs when the artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot.  Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures, which can damage brain cells by exerting pressure.

Ten risk factors for stroke are…


1. Prior Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

Having a stroke puts an individual at increased risk for having another, or recurrent, stroke.  The National Stroke Association estimates at least 25- to 35-percent of Americans who have a stroke each year will have a recurrent stroke within their lifetime.  Within 5-years of an initial stroke, the risk for recurrent stroke can increase more than 40-percent.  Within 5-years of a stroke, 24-percent of women and 42-percent of men will experience a recurrent stroke.

A transient ischemic attack, also referred to as a mini-stroke, may have the same symptoms as a stroke, but the symptoms resolve in minutes to hours (usually less than 24 hours).  Symptoms may include weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache, and dizziness.  TIA is a medical emergency because it puts individuals at increased for stroke.  According to the National Stroke Association 40-percent of individuals who have a TIA will have an actual stroke.  Nearly 50-percent of all strokes occur within a few days after TIA.

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