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Risk Factors and Warning Signs

What are the risk factors?

Anyone can have a stroke at any age. Your chance of having a stroke increases if you have certain risk factors. Some risk factors for stroke can be changed or managed, while others can’t.

Risk factors for stroke that can be changed, treated, or medically managed:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease. 
  •  Diabetes. 
  • Smoking. 
  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives).
  • History of TIAs (transient ischemic attacks).
  • High red blood cell count.
  • High blood cholesterol and lipids.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Obesity.
  • Excessive alcohol use.
  • Illegal drugs.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Cardiac structural abnormalities.

Risk factors for stroke that can’t be changed:

  • Older age.
  • Race.
  • Gender.
  • History of prior stroke.
  • Heredity or genetics.

Click here to learn more about risk factors.

What are the stroke warning signs? 

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. When you see these signs, you will know that your need to call 911 fast. In the event of a stroke, time saved = brain saved.

• F – Face Drooping: One side of the face is drooping or numb. When the person smiles, the smile is uneven.

• A – Arm Weakness:
One arm is weak or numb. When the person lifts both arms at the same time, one arm may drift downward.

• S – Speech Difficulty:
You may see slurred speech or difficulty speaking. The person can’t repeat a simple sentence correctly when asked.

• T – Time to Call 911:
If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Call even if the symptom goes away. Make note of the time the symptom/s first appeared.

How can I prevent a stroke?

You can help prevent stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices. A healthy lifestyle includes the following:

  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Getting enough exercise.
  • Not smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol use.
  • Taking medication as prescribed.

Click here to learn more about adapting a healthy lifestyle.

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