Stroke: Know your risk, Know the signs

Stroke Prevention Stroke can strike the young as well as the old, males and females, as well as people of every ethnicity. In fact, stroke is the number 5 cause of death in the US, killing 129,000 people every year. It’s also the leading cause of disability, causing paralysis, speech problems, vision problems, memory loss, and more.

There are many risk factors for stroke. Some — such as age, race and family history — are out of our control, but other risk factors can be addressed.

High blood pressure is the single biggest culprit for stroke. Over time, hypertension takes its toll on blood vessels. The walls harden, making it easier for clots to form and disrupt the flow of blood to the brain.

Diabetes makes the chances of having a stroke two to four times more likely. That’s because increased glucose in the bloodstream can lead to fatty deposits or clots, which can restrict — or completely block — blood flow through the vessels in the brain and neck.

High blood cholesterol can lead to plaque build-up along the walls of the arteries which, over time, can thicken and constrict normal blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.

Stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable.

Controlling high cholesterol lowers the chance of stroke.

Monitoring and controlling diabetes goes a long way to preventing stroke.

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