Dr. Dean Johnston, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Neurologist, discusses How to Prevent a Stroke from Happening to You.
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Featuring Dr. Dean Johnston, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Neurologist
How to Prevent a Stroke from Happening to You
Duration: 1 minute, 55 seconds
Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adult North Americans, and it’s the third leading cause of death.
Fortunately, stroke can be prevented. Recognition of risk factors is the first step in preventing a stroke. Doctors typically divide risk factors into those that are controllable and those that are non-controllable.
The controllable risk factors for stroke include smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or dyslipidemia, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical exercise and atrial fibrillation, which is an abnormal heart rate.
Non-controllable risk factors include age, which is probably the most important risk factor for stroke, gender – we know that men suffer stroke more frequently than women, ethnicity – certain ethnic groups have a higher likelihood of hypertension and diabetes, and are therefore more prone to stroke.
Family history is another important risk factor for stroke. Individuals who have had a family member who suffered a stroke under the age of 65 are at higher risk of stroke, even though we don’t consider stroke a hereditary disease.
There are a number of simple lifestyle measures that individuals can make to reduce their risk of stroke. Exercising at least three hours a week, reducing alcohol consumption to less than two drinks a day for men and one drink or less for women, is important. Smoking cessation is probably the most important thing that an individual can do to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease.
If you want more information about your risk of stroke, you can discuss it with your family physician, who may assess you for conditions like hypertension or diabetes. They may consider referring you to a dietitian, for example. They may give you recommendations for the amount of exercise you should receive, and they may prescribe medications to help reduce your risk of stroke.
Local Practitioners: Neurologist
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.