Who are at risk of a stroke? by Dr Winnie Lim Khoo, Neurologist in manila

Almost anyone can have a stroke, although there are some things that make you more at risk than others. It’s important to know what the risk factors are and do what you can to reduce your risk. A whole lot of people thinks that strokes only happen to older people but stroke can strike anyone at any time. While most people who have a stroke are older, younger people can have strokes too, including children. Some risk factors are:

Age The largest number of people who have strokes are aged over 55, and the risk increases as you get older. This is because our arteries naturally become narrower and harder as we get older.

Race If you are South Asian, black African or black Caribbean you are at a higher risk of stroke than other people in the UK. It isn’t completely understood why this is, but it’s probably connected to the fact that you are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Family history If a close relative (parent, grandparent, brother or sister) has had a stroke, your risk is likely to be higher.

Genetic Certain genetic conditions can cause strokes. Sickle cell disease, for example, is a genetic disorder that affects your red blood cells and makes them more likely to block your blood vessels. None of these factors mean that you will necessarily have a stroke, but it’s important to be aware of them and do what you can about the factors you can change.

Lifestyle stroke risk factors you can control

High blood pressure High Blood Pressure (hypertension) is the most important known risk factor for stroke. High blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessel walls, which may eventually lead to a stroke.

High Cholesterol High Cholesterol may contributes to blood vessel disease, which often leads to stroke.

Smoking Smoking can increase your risk of stroke or further stroke by increasing blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood.

Obesity or being overweight Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of stroke. Too much body fat can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Poor diet and lack of exercise Being inactive, overweight or both can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. People who take part in moderate activity are less likely to have a stroke. Try and build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. #stroke #exercise #diet #highbloodpressure #obese #obesity #cholesterol #smoking #specialist #neurologist #winnielimkhoo #manila #philippines #health #tips #advise