World Stroke Day is observed on the 29th of October every year. This year the theme is ‘what is your reason for preventing a stroke?’ Dr Rima Khanna, Associate Consultant-Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh shares few treatable risk factors for stroke.
High Blood Pressure or hypertension: Hypertension can increase the risk of stroke by two-fold. This is because it can narrow the blood vessels causing them to rupture or leak. It can also result in the formation of blood clots which further increase the risk of stroke.
Diabetes: Diabetes doubles your risk of having a stroke and is a contributing factor for 20% of the strokes. High blood sugar in the blood can damage blood vessels making them harder, narrower and more likely to be blocked. If this happens in a blood vessel leading to the brain it could cause a stroke.
High Levels of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) carries cholesterol (a fatty substance) through the blood which causes a blockage. The build of plaque in the arteries makes it difficult for the blood to carry the oxygen to the brain.
Lack of physical activity and obesity: Obesity and overweight are the primary risk factors for stroke for men and woman of all races. It increases the risk of stroke due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissues. Waist Circumference and related ratios can better predict stroke than body mass index(BMI).
Smoking: It is known to cause stroke as it leads to increased blood pressure which can cause the blood to clot and additionally builds up fatty substance (blockage) in the main artery which provides blood to the brain.
Stress: One major factor which causes high blood pressure is stress. It causes the blood vessels to narrow and can increase chances of blood clots and heart attacks and stroke.