If you or someone you love is at risk for stroke, you probably have read up on what stroke entails. In doing so, you have probably gathered a wealth of information. Some sources might contradict each other. Unfortunately, although fewer Americans are dying from strokes each year, the myths surrounding them are still louder than facts. If you’ve heard some of these myths yourself, it’s important to discover the truth.
Myth 1: Only Extremely High Blood Pressure Causes Strokes
This would be good news if it were true. However, you don’t have to have a sudden extreme spike in blood pressure to have a stroke. In fact, untreated hypertension is a leading cause of stroke. The blockage that comes along with high blood pressure can very easily block blood vessels that lead fresh blood to the brain. The blockage alone can cause an ischemic stroke, which accounts for 90% of strokes. If the vessel bursts, it can cause a hemorrhagic stroke.
To reduce your risk of stroke, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure. Many people at risk choose to keep a blood pressure monitor in their homes.
Myth 2: Strokes Affect Mostly Men and the Elderly
Strokes do not discriminate when it comes to age and gender. Even babies can have strokes. Although this is rare, it is not rare for people in their 30s and 40s to have strokes. In fact, more people in this age bracket are experiencing strokes now than at any other time period.
As for the misconception about men being more at risk than women, it’s well-documented that women not only have a higher risk of experiencing a stroke than men on average, they’re also much more likely to suffer much more serious, long-term effects afterward.
People of all ages and genders need to educate themselves about strokes and the risk factors they have as individuals.
Myth 3: Strokes Cannot Be Prevented
This is perhaps the most dangerous misconception about strokes, as it suggests that people are powerless to lessen their risks. A stroke may seem like a sudden event that happens at random, but people typically miss timebombs until they’ve gone off. There are quite a few healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke. Losing weight if overweight, reducing alcohol consumption, lowering blood pressure if determined to have hypertension, smoking cessation, and proper monitoring and management of diabetes are all shown to reduce the risk of having a stroke.
Take charge of your health. If you’d like to learn more about strokes and risk factors you might have, discuss your concerns with your doctor. If you’re determined to be at risk, coming up with a health plan to reduce your risk can make a lot of difference.