Stroke

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Risk Factors and Symptoms

There are many risk factors for stroke. These include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and other heart problems, including atrial fibrillation and other heart disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • High cholesterol
  • Age - the risk of a stroke doubles for each decade of life after age 55
  • Family history of stroke
  • Race - Americans of African descent have a higher risk of death from stroke than Caucasians, resulting from higher risk of hypertension, diabetes and obesity
  • Sex - Men have more strokes than women, although more women than men die from stroke

Additional risk factors include:

Most strokes are preceded by one or more mini-strokes (called transient ischemic attacks or TIAs) that should act as a warning to seek medical attention immediately. While symptoms of a stroke typically persist, symptoms of a TIA typically resolve on their own within a few hours. The five most common symptoms of a stroke or TIA are:

  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
  • Sudden loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding what is said
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance, coordination, or trouble walking
  • Sudden blurred vision or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
  • Severe, unexplained headache

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