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Risk factors associated with ischemic strokes

If you have been reading posts from our website, you are familiar with the most common type of stroke patients suffer: the ischemic stroke. This medical emergency can have a long-term impact on a patient's wellbeing because the blood clot causing the stroke can starve the brain of oxygen it needs to function. We have discussed many of the life-long complications that can result from an ischemic stroke: paralysis, memory loss and difficulty in talking or eating.

While the ischemic stroke can catch people unaware, there are risk factors can increase stroke susceptibility. The following list provides genetic attributes, lifestyle choices and medical conditions that are associated with the ischemic stroke.

Reviewing these factors may help you determine if you or a loved one is at an increased risk for suffering from a stroke:

1. Genetic attributes

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, genetic attributes may be responsible for 50 percent of the ischemic strokes that were reported. Individuals who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and are diabetic are at a greater risk to suffering from a stroke than individuals with low blood pressure or low cholesterol levels. While each of these conditions does have a genetic component associated with it, individuals can make changes to their diet or activity level to decrease the risks attached to each condition.

2. Lifestyle choices

As high blood pressure is correlated strongly with increased susceptibility to strokes, individuals with elevated blood pressure are encouraged to limit sodium intake, increase their exercise and engage in activities that can reduce stress. Smoking can also tax the body and increase an individual's risk of stroke.

3. Stroke precursor

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of the individuals who experience a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) will have a stroke within a year of the TIA. Known as a "mini-stroke," the TIA is characterized by the brevity of the attack. When an individual suffers a TIA, the blood clot that creates a blockage in a blood vessel dissolves on its own. Since it is a temporary blockage, the so-called transient attack may not have the same long-term repercussions as an ischemic stroke.

As the TIA is essentially a warning of a more deadly stroke; however, it is one that should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the brief event prevents many individuals from realizing that they are experiencing a TIA. For those that do recognize that a TIA has occurred, seeing a doctor and modifying lifestyle choices may prevent a future ischemic stroke from taking place.

In many cases, the individual having the stroke does not realize that she is suffering a stroke. This is why it is imperative to observe those at a heightened risk for having a stroke and to serve as an advocate for loved ones when meeting with a physician to discuss stroke risk factors.

Individuals who feel that their loved ones were not treated effectively in the aftermath of a stroke are advised to seek legal counsel to determine the best course of action to take.

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