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Top 4 Health Conditions that Increase the Risk for Stroke

May 2, 2024

Food in heart shaped bowls and BP reader

As many are aware, strokes can be serious, but understanding and managing certain health conditions can significantly reduce the risk. Some health conditions put you at a higher risk of having a stroke and preventing these conditions can, in turn, help to prevent strokes.

The National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute reports that 82%-90% of strokes are linked to health concerns within an individual’s control. Understanding these modifiable factors empowers individuals to make proactive lifestyle changes, significantly reducing their risk of having a stroke.

The top health problems that are known to drastically increase the risk of stroke are:

1. High Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure poses the risk of triggering a stroke, either through the formation of blood clots or the rupture of arteries in the brain. Regular blood pressure monitoring during routine check-ups is crucial, with consistent readings exceeding 130/80 indicating a potential problem. Effective management of high blood pressure often involves medications, but individuals aiming to prevent its onset can also adopt lifestyle adjustments. Embracing a nutritious diet and incorporating regular exercise into your routine are powerful steps toward maintaining healthy blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke. Prioritizing these lifestyle choices contributes not only to cardiovascular health but also to overall well-being.

2. High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is essential for the body to function, but too much of it can cause a build-up or blockage in the arteries and increase the risk of having a stroke.

Blood tests are typically used to measure your body’s cholesterol levels, and a doctor may prescribe medication for you if your levels are too high. You may also be able to lower levels by eliminating cholesterol from your diet, which is often found in foods like butter, red meat and dairy products.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that can cause sugars to build up in the blood, which can lead to a blockage of the arteries. When one of these blockages occurs in the brain, a stroke may occur.

Having diabetes also puts you at risk of developing high blood pressure, which is another condition that may cause a stroke. While you cannot always prevent diabetes, you can prevent it from causing a stroke when it is treated properly with frequent doctor supervision.

4. Heart Disease

There are many heart diseases that may increase your risk of having a stroke, including irregular heartbeat, heart valve defects and coronary artery disease. With any of these diseases, your risk of developing blood clots is increased, which can lead to a stroke in the future.

Medication may be available to treat some heart diseases, and a healthy diet and exercise routine can help in the case of coronary artery disease. Quitting smoking and working toward achieving a healthy body weight can also lower your risk of stroke when you have any heart disease.

Proactive health choices, like including physical fitness in your daily routine, making health-conscious eating choices, and always prioritizing overall well-being, are paramount in reducing the likelihood of a stroke. It’s never too late or too early to improve your health.

Applewood, Freehold’s leading retirement community, surrounds residents with the resources and support to help prevent strokes and improve their overall well-being. With a state-of-the-art fitness center, healthy dining options, and wellness support, Applewood continues to promote independence while ensuring each resident is living their best life while staying healthy. To learn more about our community, reach out to a member of our team or call us at 732-303-7416 today!