• Stroke Scorecard

  • “Calm down, you'll give yourself a stroke.”

    How many times have you heard that phrase? It’s most often uttered to parents by unwitting teenagers. But is there truth behind it? Does stress, in fact, lead to stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in Americans? What about other factors? How much do they really affect your risk of stroke? 

  • Effect on Stroke Risk: Significant
    Smokers are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than nonsmokers, according to the National Stroke Association. Smoking causes blood vessels to restrict and blood vessel walls to become thick, both of which make it harder for blood to get through. Add to that the fact that smoking increases the chances blood clots will form, and you have a recipe for blockage. Find out more about tobacco cessation classes held at St. Thomas More Hospital. Call 719-285-2010 for details.
    Effect on Stroke Risk: Moderate
    Once you’ve had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or ministroke), you’re at greater risk (about 17 percent) for having another, according to the National Stroke Association. Your risk also is increased if a close family member has had a stroke.
    Effect on stroke risk: Moderate
    Carrying around excess fat puts a strain on the body’s circulatory system. It also increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which are also risk factors for stroke.
    Effect on stroke risk: Significant
    Your teenager may be onto something here. People who are chronically stressed, hostile, or depressed are at greater risk for stroke than those with less on their minds. In fact, these emotions increased stroke risk fourfold in study participants, according to the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
    Effect on stroke risk: Low
    Taking even a low dose of estrogen has been linked to increased stroke risk in women, particularly those who possess other risk factors, such as smoking.
    Effect on stroke risk: Possibly Significant
    Getting an annual flu shot could lower your risk of stroke by up to one third. Although more research is needed, it appears that getting the flu causes inflammation that can disturb plaque in your blood vessels that can cause a blockage.
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