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Stroke risk can be controlled easier than one might think. With the help of a doctor, many diseases that increase risk can be treated, while lifestyle risk factors such an unhealthy eating and smoking can be changed.

Learn interactively about more than 20 leading risk factors for stroke through the interactive risk factor tool.

Treatable Diseases That Increase Stroke Risk:

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. Blood pressure by definition is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure causes the heart to pump harder to move blood through the body. This can weaken blood vessels and damage major organs such as the brain. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke.
Read more about high blood pressure and stroke by clicking here.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF)

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat rapidly and unpredictably, producing an irregular heartbeat. AF raises stroke risk because it allows blood to pool in the heart. When blood pools, it tends to form clots which can then be carried to the brain, causing a stroke. Long-term untreated AF can also weaken the heart, leading to heart failure.
Read more about AF and stroke by clicking here.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the blood that the human body makes on its own, but it also comes from fat in foods. High levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.
Read more about cholesterol and stroke by clicking here

Diabetes

In people with diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Without insulin, the body can't process sugar, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. People with diabetes are up to 4 times more likely to have a stroke than someone who does not have the disease, mainly because many people with diabetes have health problems that are also stroke risk factors.
Read more about diabetes and stroke by clicking here.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is the progressive buildup of plaque – fatty deposits and other cells – in artery walls. It can clog arteries and block the flow of blood to the brain or other parts of the body, making a person more at risk for a stroke, TIA or other heart disease.
Read more about atherosclerosis by clicking here.



Lifestyle Risk Factors That Can Be Changed:

Tobacco Use/Smoking

Among other things, smoking damages blood vessel walls, speeds up the clogging of arteries, raises blood pressure and makes the heart work harder. Smoking also doubles the risk of stroke.
Read more about smoking and stroke by clicking here.

Alcohol Use

Alcohol use has been linked to stroke in many studies. For example, drinking large amounts of alcohol may increase risk for stroke.
Read more about alcohol use and stroke by clicking here.

Obesity

Obesity and excess weight put a strain on the entire circulatory system. Obesity also makes people more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes -- all of which can increase risk for stroke. Adopting healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity can help reduce stroke risk.
Read more about obesity and stroke by clicking here.


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