Reducing Your Risk of Stroke | San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital


Hi! My name is Jennifer Hata, and I’m a physical therapist
at San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital. According to the American Stroke Association, 1 in every 4 people worldwide
will have a stroke in their lifetime. So today, I want to talk to you about some
of the risk factors that you can control to reduce your risk for having a stroke. So here we have the list. Number one here is high blood pressure. So you want to make sure that your blood pressure
maintains within healthy, normal ranges. Number two: smoking. Smoking can increase your risk for having a stroke, as the smoke and carbon monoxide will narrow your vessels, your blood vessels, and that could lead to throwing a clot. And also, if you’re a young female, smoking while taking birth control can then increase your risk as well for having a stroke. Here on the list is diabetes. Having high blood sugar and uncontrolled blood
sugar also increases your risk for having a stroke. Diet and exercise. So diet and physical inactivity. So you want to make sure that you’re eating
a healthy, well balanced diet. Sometimes if you have diabetes and you have
too many carbohydrates, that’ll increase your blood sugar. So some of these risk factors do go hand-in-hand, and if you control one it helps to control the other. Physical inactivity. So if you’re not doing, maybe a little bit
of light exercise, walking, something physically active throughout your day, it does increase your risk for stroke. It does increase your risk for then developing,
potentially, obesity, and obesity is a risk factor also for having a stroke. High cholesterol. If you have high blood cholesterol, what happens
is there’s plaque build up in your blood vessels, and if you have plaque build-up, cholesterol build-up in your blood vessels, it could either narrow your vessels, therefore cutting off blood supply, causing a stroke, and/or you can have a blood clot, or a clot that can dislodge
and then lead to a stroke, as well. So maintaining lower cholesterol levels is
a way to decrease your risk for stroke. Afib, also known as Atrial Fibrillation. So that is a deficiency with how your heart pumps, and when your heart does not pump adequately, then the blood can pool in your heart, therefore potentially causing a clot to dislodge and then lead to a stroke. So the American Stroke Association does recommend
that if you have been diagnosed with Afib, that you do want to make sure that you’re
being treated to decrease your risk for having a stroke. And then here, artery disease. So any carotid artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, anything affecting your arteries or your vessels, can increase your risk for stroke. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with, possibly smoking, your diet, your high cholesterol, ’cause all of those could increase the plaque
buildup, the fatty deposits in your blood vessels, therefore leading to an increased risk of stroke. And so that’s why you would want to make sure
you can definitely control these, because we do know that there are some risk factors
that you can’t control, like your age. The older you are, the longer you live, the higher risk you have for having a stroke. But that’s something that you can’t control, and unfortunately, we are seeing that younger people in our community are having strokes; even children can have strokes. Your family history is something that you
cannot control, so if anybody in your immediate family has had a stroke, there is an increased risk that you
will have a stroke, as well. But obviously you wouldn’t be able to control that. Race and gender, also things that you are
not able to control, but can increase your risk for having a stroke. And then, having a prior stroke, TIA, or heart
attack can also increase your risk for stroke. So the American Stroke Association does recommend
that if you have any uncontrollable risk factors — age, family history, race, gender, prior stroke — that you really want to focus on the stroke risk factors that you can control to, therefore, reduce your risk for stroke.

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