What is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of the normal blood flow to the brain, due to a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel. Without the normal flow of oxygen-rich blood, brain cells start to die. Stroke can cause disability and death.
Risk Factors for Stroke
There are certain behaviors and characteristics that increase your chance of having a stroke. We call these risk factors. There are some risk factors cannot be controlled such as having a family history of stroke, being a certain ethnicity (African Americans have a higher risk of stroke), being female (women have more strokes then men), being age 55 or older, and having had a stroke or heart attack in the past. However, there are also many risk factors that you can control. Here’s how you can reduce your risk of stroke:
- High Blood Pressure/Hypertension – High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. If you have high blood pressure, speak to your health care provider to learn how to lower it.
- Sodium – In many people sodium increases blood pressure. You can lower your blood pressure and your risk for stroke by reducing the amount of sodium you eat.
- Smoking – Cigarette smoke can be an important risk factor for stroke. If you smoke, quit to reduce your risk for stroke.
- Physical Activity & Nutrition – Moving more and eating a balanced diet can help you lower your risk for stroke.
- And More – to learn more about risk factors for stroke visit the American Stroke Association.
- 3.5 percent of Massachusetts adults 35 and older have reported that they had a stroke (Massachusetts BRFSS 2014 ).
- 4 percent of Massachusetts adult men 35+ reported being diagnosed with a stroke (Massachusetts BRFSS 2014 ).
- 3.1 percent of Massachusetts adult women 35+ reported being diagnosed with a stroke (Massachusetts BRFSS 2014 ).