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Second Stroke Risk Factors: What You Need to Know

Did you know that one in four stroke survivors are at risk of suffering from another one? This unfortunate truth can be daunting for you and your loved ones.

The good news is that there are ways to mitigate the risk of having a second stroke. That's what this article aims to cover. We've outlined all the top contributing factors that might enhance the chances of having another one.

Whether for yourself or a loved one, following these tips can help protect your long-term health and wellness. Keep reading to learn how to prevent a second stroke.

Age and Gender

As people get older, they're more likely to have a second stroke. Statistics even show that having a stroke is uncommon for people under the age of 40. This is because as we age, our blood vessels can become weaker and more likely to get clogged.

Some common gender-related risk factors for a second stroke include hormonal changes. These can affect blood pressure and increase the risk of blood clots. Women who are pregnant or taking certain types of birth control may be at a higher risk for a second stroke.

Medical History

Having certain pre-existing medical conditions can increase the risk of having a second stroke. People who have already had a stroke are also at a higher risk of having a second stroke. It's worth noting that 80% of strokes are preventable.

Certain medical procedures can also increase the risk of having a second stroke. For example, consider surgeries that involve the heart or blood vessels. These can sometimes cause small clots to form in the bloodstream, which can then travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

Additionally, some procedures involve the neck or head, such as carotid endarterectomy. These can also increase the risk of a stroke.

It's important for anyone who has had a stroke or who has any of these pre-existing medical conditions to work with a healthcare provider. This is the best way to manage their risk factors and reduce the likelihood of having a second stroke.

This may involve taking medications, for instance. It might also mean making lifestyle changes or undergoing certain medical procedures to manage underlying health conditions.

Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyle factors can also play a role in the risk of having a second stroke. Smoking, for example, can increase the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels. Drinking alcohol in excess can also increase the risk of stroke by raising blood pressure levels.

Poor diet and lack of exercise can also increase the risk of having a second stroke. Eating foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in the blood vessels, which is of particular danger.

In contrast, consider eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Doing so can help to lower the risk of another stroke. This is of particular importance since a healthy diet can help prevent the development of diabetes. Since diabetes also increases the risk of a stroke, change your eating habits sooner rather than later.

Being physically inactive can also increase the risk of stroke. Exercise helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system and can help to lower blood pressure levels.

In addition, stress and lack of sleep can also increase the risk of stroke. They can lead to changes in blood pressure and other physiological processes.

It's up to you to do your best to prevent the possibility of an additional stroke. Tracking your possible symptoms could go a long way in helping you spot the possible signs of a second stroke and counter them. In this way, health tracking is helping us all stay on track with our wellness goals.

Considering Medications

Certain medications can increase the risk of having a second stroke. Blood thinners, for example, are often useful to people who have had a stroke to help prevent blood clots.

However, it's essential that these medications are managed properly. Otherwise, they can increase the risk of bleeding, which can be dangerous if it occurs in the brain.

Some other medications that can increase the risk of stroke include hormonal medications. Examples would be birth control pills, which can increase the risk of blood clots.

Certain over-the-counter pain medications, such as aspirin, can also increase the risk of bleeding, too. This is particularly true if they're taken in high doses or for extended periods of time.

Anyone taking medications should work closely with their healthcare provider. Doing so is the most effective way to manage their medication regimen. Your healthcare provider is better able to monitor for any potential side effects or interactions that may increase the risk of having a second stroke.

In some cases, healthcare providers may adjust medication dosages. They might even suggest that you switch to alternative medications.

Family History

Research has shown that certain genetic factors can increase the risk of having either a first or even second stroke. For example, consider people who have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease. They may be at a higher risk of stroke due to these factors.

In addition, certain genetic disorders can also increase the risk of stroke. For example, some people have a condition called sickle cell anemia. They have a higher risk of stroke due to changes in the structure of their blood cells.

This can also be true for people with Fabry disease or cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). It's true that family history and genetic factors cannot be changed. Still, it's important for individuals with a family history of stroke or genetic disorders to be aware of their increased risk.

Managing Hypertension

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for having a second stroke. This is because high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels in the brain. This makes them more likely to rupture or form blood clots.

Managing hypertension is possible, though, and it's an essential way to reduce the risk of having a second stroke. This can include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing your overall stress.

In some cases, medication may also be necessary to manage high blood pressure. Remember, though, to only take medication according to the proper dosage.

Further, your healthcare provider can work. closely with you on your hypertension after you've had a first stroke. This may involve regular blood pressure monitoring, which can be of particular value. It might also mean regular check-ins with a healthcare provider and adjustments to your medication or lifestyle habits as needed.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Smoking and alcohol consumption can both increase the risk of having a second stroke. Smoking can damage blood vessels throughout the body. Heavy alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and damage the heart muscle.

Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption are crucial steps toward reducing the risk of a second stroke, though. Quitting smoking can be challenging, but there are many resources available to help. These can include nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, and support groups. Reducing alcohol consumption can also be difficult. This is especially true if you've never tried to live a completely sober life before.

The good news is that there are many strategies that can help. These can include setting limits on alcohol consumption, to start. You would also do well to avoid triggers that lead to drinking and seek support from family and friends.

Tracking Second Stroke Symptoms

Sallie® is a free health-tracking tool. It's specifically ideal for individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a stroke. By using Sallie®, individuals can better manage their symptoms and reduce the risk of a second stroke.

Using Sallie is simple and straightforward. Individuals can register for the tool online and start using it right away. The dashboard includes a variety of symptoms for users to track.

These include headaches, fatigue, and mood changes. Users can also add custom symptoms to track. This allows them to personalize their symptom-tracking experience.

If you or someone you know has sustained concussions or stroke-related TBIs, then you understand how overwhelming the symptoms can become. Sallie® aims to ease this feeling by being an incredibly easy-to-use and free TBI symptom-tracking dashboard.

Using the dashboard at the beginning of one’s recovery can help one to identify symptoms and triggers. The robust data collection approach includes various varying symptoms for our users to track.

If you've had a stroke, using Sallie® for your TBIs can lead to a better recovery. Register for Sallie® here.

Continue Your Research

The unfortunate truth is that brain injuries are never easy to deal with. If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, though, tracking the symptoms through Sallie® can help. A second stroke is no joke.

Our team is dedicated to helping families like yours not just survive - but thrive - after TBIs. For that reason, subscribe to our newsletter now to always stay in tune with industry updates and wellness tips.

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