As you settle into a happy, healthy retirement, there are a few health concerns you’ll need to keep in mind. Strokes are, unfortunately, one of those concerns. Stroke risk increases as we get older, with 70 percent of all strokes occurring in adults over the age of 65. But strokes are far from inevitable. To protect yourself from this potentially debilitating health event, find out about the most common stroke risk factors.
Stroke Risk Factors
General Risk Factors
- Family History: Like many health conditions, your threat of stroke is higher if a family member has had a stroke. This correlation is due to several genes that can affect your stroke risk.
- Sex: Men are statistically more likely than women to have a stroke. However, women tend to live longer than men – which means women have a higher lifetime risk as they get older.
- Race and Ethnicity: Strokes statistically occur more frequently in African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, and Hispanic populations.
Behavioral Stroke Risk Factors
While you can’t control factors like family history and ethnicity, you can control lifestyle choices that may lead to stroke:
- Diet: Diets containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke. However, diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol may increase the risk of stroke. If you are worried about your diet – or struggle with high cholesterol, a major risk factor — talk to your doctor about any diet changes that may help reduce your risk of stroke.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoke damages your cardiovascular system, which can greatly increase your risk of stroke.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: The American Heart Association recommends that adults participate in physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week.
Other Stroke Risk Factors
Outside of lifestyle changes, there are several co-morbid conditions to be aware of:
- Previous Stroke: Your chances of a stroke are higher if you have already had a stroke or a mini-stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack.
- High Blood Pressure: Unsurprisingly, when the pressure of the blood in your arteries is too high, it can lead to stroke.
- Sickle Cell Disease: This blood disorder may lead to a type of stroke known as ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when blood vessels trap stray sickle cells. This, in turn, blocks the blood flow to the brain.
- Heart Disease: Heart disorders like coronary artery disease can greatly increase your risk for stroke. This is due to plaque buildup, which eventually blocks the flow of blood to the brain.
Are you worried about one or more of these stroke risk factors? Start by taking the American Heart Association’s Stroke Risk Quiz. Then, talk to your doctor about protecting yourself with the help of lifestyle changes. Finally, if you think you or a loved one may be having a stroke, call 911 immediately. Every minute counts during a stroke, and any delay can lead to debilitating complications and even death. Finally, if you’re worried about any of these factors, you might consider surrounding yourself with healthcare professionals – like those at a trusted retirement community.
Are you looking for a relaxing place to retire near Riverview, Florida? Check out the Crossings at Riverview, located near Tampa, Florida. We invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities first-hand. Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!