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Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
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Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

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BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM

Stroke

 

Risk factors

You can't change the following risk factors for TIA and stroke. But knowing you're at risk can motivate you to change your lifestyle to reduce other risks.

  • Family history. Your risk may be greater if one of your family members has had a TIA or a stroke.

  • Age. Generally, your risk increases as you get older.

  • Sex. If you're a man, your risk of stroke is slightly higher at a younger age. In older age groups, in which the overall risk of stroke is at its highest, the risk for men and women is about the same.

  • Race. Blacks are at greater risk than are other ethnic groups. The reason is partly because of their higher prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes.

You can control the following risk factors:

  • High blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of TIA or stroke. Poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight contribute to this risk factor.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Conditions including a previous heart attack, heart valve abnormalities, acute heart valve disease and atrial fibrillation — an irregular and, often, rapid heartbeat — increase your risk. Your heart doesn't pump blood as efficiently with these conditions, or it beats irregularly.

  • Cigarette smoking. Smoking contributes to development of cholesterol-containing fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). Nicotine increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces oxygen in your blood, decreasing the amount of oxygen delivered to your tissues, including your brain. Smoking also increases the clotting of blood.

  • Diabetes. Diabetes increases the severity of atherosclerosis — narrowing of the arteries due to accumulation of fatty deposits — and the speed with which it develops.

  • Undesirable levels of blood cholesterol. High blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increase your risk of narrowed or blocked arteries.

  • Elevated homocysteine level. Homocysteine — an amino acid and a building block of protein — naturally occurs in your blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine can cause arteries to thicken and scar, making it more likely that cholesterol will clog arteries. Taking a combination of B complex vitamins — B-6, B-12 and folic acid — has been shown to reduce blood levels of homocysteine. However, it isn't known whether this will reduce the incidence of stroke, but it may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis forming in some people with narrowing in their coronary (heart) arteries.

  • Sedentary lifestyle. People with limited physical activity are at increased risk of stroke. Even a brisk walk, or some other exercise, if done on a regular basis, may lessen your risk of stroke.

  • Obesity. Your risk of stroke increases if you're overweight. Obesity can also increase your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes.

  • Carotid artery disease. Your doctor may hear a noise (bruit) over the arteries in the front part of your neck (carotid arteries) and then may recommend some studies of these arteries. If your doctor detects moderate to severe narrowing, your risk of stroke may be elevated, even though you haven't had symptoms. You may need additional treatment to prevent a stroke from occurring.

Transient ischemic attack > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

 

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:29 AM