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What puts Someone At Risk for Stroke?

Although anyone can have a stroke at any age, the CDC explains that the risk of stroke increases as age increases. Therefore, elderly populations are more likely to suffer from stroke. In addition, stroke is more prevalent in women compared to men, and women are more likely than men to die of stroke. Ethnicity also contributes to the likelihood of a stroke; Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives are more at risk of a stroke than non-Hispanic whites or Asians. According to the CDC, the risk of having a stroke is “nearly twice as high” for Blacks as for whites. Some other factors that make an individual more likely to suffer from a stroke include high blood pressure, previous stroke, sickle cell disease, diabetes, tobacco use, and obesity.

Individuals with high cholesterol levels are more at risk of a stroke. Cholesterol is a waxy lipid that is produced by the liver and consumed in different foods, but in excess, cholesterol can build up in arteries. The buildup increases the likelihood of a stroke because the arteries narrow, which prevents brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients via the blood supply.

Diabetes also increases an individual’s risk of stroke. Since those with diabetes lack sufficient insulin, a buildup of sugar in the blood can occur. The buildup of sugar stops nutrients and oxygen from reaching several parts of one’s body, including their brain, and increases the risk of stroke. In addition, high blood pressure is common in diabetics and is the leading cause of stroke.

An unhealthy diet can be modified to decrease one’s risk of a stroke. Since an excess of lipids causes buildup and a narrowing of arteries, reducing foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can decrease the chance of buildup, and therefore, stroke. Diets too high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol correlate to stroke and heart disease, a related condition, because they cause arteries to narrow and prevent brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients via the blood supply. Sodium intake can also be regulated to prevent increasing the likelihood of stroke because consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure levels, which is the leading cause of stroke.



BY: Kenedy Quandt

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