A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or health problem. Some risk factors for stroke you cannot change. Some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.
You CANNOT change these stroke risk factors:
Blood clots from the heart may travel to the brain and cause a stroke. This may happen in people with man-made or infected heart valves. It may also happen because of a heart defect you were born with.
A very weak heart and some abnormal heartbeats can also cause blood clots.
Some risks for heart disease that you CAN change are:
Birth control pills can raise your risk of blood clots. Clots are more likely in women who also smoke and who are older than 35.
Good nutrition is important to your heart health. It will help control some of your risk factors.
Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another blood thinner to help prevent blood clots from forming. DO NOT take aspirin without talking to your doctor first.
If you are taking these drugs, take steps to prevent yourself from falling or tripping.
Follow these guidelines and the advice of your doctor to lower your chances of stroke.
Stroke - prevention
Goldstein LB, Bushnell CD, Adams RJ, Appel LJ, Braun LT, Chaturvedi S, et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011 Feb;42(2):517-84. Epub 2010 Dec 2.
Updated by: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz.
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