hands-holding-heart-symbolWe want to welcome everyone to the newest entry in our health and wellness spotlight feature blog series. For anyone unfamiliar, we use these posts to shine a spotlight on one specific health concern or topic to help our readers gain a more clear and in-depth understanding on important health subjects. We have always felt that education and knowledge are incredibly powerful tools in preventive medicine. With this in mind, this month we are focusing on strokes, and more specifically, the importance of stroke prevention.

We thought it might be helpful to begin by presenting some statistics about strokes in the US, to help fully illustrate why this is such an important wellness priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about 1 in every 6 cardiovascular disease related deaths is caused by a stroke. Nearly 800,000 people in the US experience a stroke each year. Of these, just over 600,000 are the person’s first stroke. To put it into context, someone in the US has a stroke once every 40 seconds and dies of stroke every 3.5 minutes. While strokes can occur at any age, risk does increase with age.

Common stroke risk factors to be aware of include the following:

  • High blood pressure may be the most critical warning sign of a potential stroke
  • Chronic conditions including heart disease and diabetes
  • Smoking can essentially double a person’s risk of experiencing a stroke
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A sedentary lifestyle, lacking in regular exercise and other physical activity
  • Cardiac irregularities including irregular heartbeats and damaged valves
  • Advanced age, as the chances of having a stroke double each decade of life after turning 55

We also wanted to share the following stroke prevention tips in hopes of helping our readers do everything in their power to lower their personal stroke risk. It’s important to begin by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly to promote heart health and a stable, healthy body weight. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol consumption. It’s also essential to keep up with annual wellness exams to get the status of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other potential health markers that can indicate higher stroke risk. Performing certain wellness activities like yoga, Tai chi, meditation, breathing exercises can help lower stress and reduce the risk of a stroke as well.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more information on stroke prevention, as well as additional health tips, news, and much more. If you would like to schedule an appointment at one of our four Atlanta area locations (Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming), contact Family Practice Center.