Caregivers of Older Adults

Stroke Prevention Tips for Older Adults

Posted on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

strokeBy: Joey Rosenberg, a content writer for Drugwatch.com.

With medical science advancing in leaps and bounds, the average human lifespan continues to grow at an equally astonishing rate. But with more and more individuals enjoying a high quality of life well into their 80s and 90s, the number of elderly people at risk for stroke is rapidly growing as well.

Age is by far the most important risk factor for stroke. For every decade a person lives after the age of 55, the rate of stroke more than doubles. This goes for both men and women alike. The good news is studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by working with a health care professional to reduce your risk. 

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from stroke is to understand its risk factors and the steps you can take to manage them.

Controllable Risk Factors

While risk factors like age, gender, race and family history are beyond your control, you can work with your doctor to manage other medical conditions and lessen your chances of suffering a stroke.

Controllable risk factors for stroke include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Circulation problems
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Physical inactivity

If left unaddressed, all of these factors can significantly contribute to your odds of having a stroke. Here are some tips you can follow to help prevent a first stroke:

1.       Check your blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for stroke. Monitor your blood pressure by visiting your doctor or a public blood pressure machine.

2.       Identify atrial fibrillation. This condition is characterized by an irregular heartbeat and must be diagnosed by a doctor. Because it can lead to blood clots and increase your stroke risk five-fold, it’s crucial that you identify the issue early on and receive treatment. Many patients with atrial fibrillation are prescribed blood-thinning drugs to help prevent stroke. But before you start taking a blood thinner; be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and side effects.

3.       Monitor your cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to a stroke. You should speak with a doctor if your cholesterol level exceeds 200.

4.       Quit smoking. Smoking can lessen your ability to circulate blood, which exacerbates high blood pressure and other circulation problems.

5.       Quit or limit alcohol use. Because drinking has been linked to stroke in many studies, you should quit or only drink in moderation.

6.       Stay Healthy. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle prevents added weight that puts a strain on your circulatory system. Be sure to exercise several times a week and choose a diet low in calories, sodium, cholesterol and trans fats.

By following these guidelines and adopting a proactive mentality when it comes to matters of your health, you can take great strides toward preventing stroke. 

For additional information on strokes watch these videos now for FREE:
All About Strokes
, Presented by Dr. Lyssa Ochoa of Peripheral Vascular Associations, San Antonio, Texas
STARS: Steps against Recurrent Stroke
a presentation from the National Stroke Association.

mmLearn.org offers free on-line videos for anyone caring for older adults.  Log onto our website at mmLearn.org to learn more. 

Joey Rosenberg is a content writer for Drugwatch.com. He writes about dangerous prescription drugs and defective medical devices.

Topics: Elder Care, Family Caregivers, Online Webcasts, Free Online Video Webcast, Caregiver, Family Caregiver Series, Strokes