A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. It can happen to anyone at any time, but some people have a higher risk of having a stroke than others. The good news is, approximately eighty percent of strokes can be avoided by controlling your risk factors. Some risk factors are uncontrollable, including family history, age or gender. Lifestyle and medical risk factors can be modified to help reduce the risk of stroke.
The most common, modifiable risk factors for stroke include:
- Exercise – this can be as simple as going for a 20-minute walk every day or a few times a week.
- High alcohol consumption
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Other medical conditions such as atrial fibrillation or sleep apnea
It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider to understand which risk factors you might have and how to make lifestyle changes to decrease your risk of stroke.
The faster a stroke patient receives care, the better their recovery can be. If experiencing stroke symptoms, do not hesitate; call 911 immediately. Let them take you to the nearest hospital to receive proper care. Cone Health Stroke Center, located at Moses Cone Hospital, has a highly-specialized team that coordinates a state-of-the-art program to identify and treat stroke patients quickly and effectively.
Carrie Craver is the assistant director of nursing at Cone Health Moses Cone Memorial Hospital. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Winston Salem State University. Carrie also received a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.