As people age, one of the most significant health threats they face is an elevated risk of having a stroke, especially for women.
The American Heart Association (AHA) reported that 137,119 people died from a stroke in 2006, and there are about 6.4 million stroke survivors living in the U.S. today. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
There are several risk factors for stroke that can’t be changed, such as age, heredity, race, gender and any prior heart conditions. The AHA mentions that anyone with a parent who had a stroke before age 65 is twice as likely to suffer one.
According to the National Stroke Association, there are also controllable risk factors. They can be broken up into two categories: lifestyle and medical risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors can often be changed, while medical risk factors can usually be treated.
Medical risks can be reduced with the help of a physician who can monitor current health status, prescribe medication and advise new lifestyle changes.
Controllable Medical Risk Factors
- High Blood Pressure
- Atrial Fibrillation
- High Cholesterol
- Circulation Problems
One can reduce their risk of having a stroke up to 80 percent if certain lifestyle changes are made. Every one-point increase towards a better health score can be associated with an eight percent lower stroke risk, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Controllable Lifestyle Risk Factors
- Tobacco Use and Smoking
- Alcohol Use
- Physical Inactivity
Along with enjoying a longer, healthier life, those who do manage to avoid a stroke and other related conditions, such as heart disease, may also find that they are paying less for their life insurance premiums over time.