Risk Factors for Ischemic Stroke and Possible Symptoms
Risk Factors for Ischemic StrokeRisk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your chances of getting a certain disease. Some stroke risk factors can be treated or controlled and some cannot.
Risk factors for an ischemic stroke that you cannot change include:
- Growing older (risk for an ischemic stroke tends to increase with age)
- Being male (although women are more likely than men to die from an ischemic stroke)
- Being African American
- Having a family history of stroke
- Having a personal history of stroke, TIA, or heart attack.
Some of the most important treatable or controllable risk factors for this type of stroke are:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Certain heart diseases
- Carotid artery disease
- Sleep apnea.
(Click Stroke Risk Factors for more information.)
What Are the Symptoms?Ischemic stroke symptoms are very specific to the part of the brain affected by the lack of oxygen or nutrient-rich blood flow. The actual symptoms will depend on the area of the brain that is affected. Common symptoms of an ischemic stroke include:
- Sudden confusion
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
If you believe someone is having a stroke -- if he or she suddenly loses the ability to speak, cannot move an arm or leg on one side, or experiences facial paralysis on one side -- call 911 immediately.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Every minute counts when someone is having a stroke because the longer blood flow is cut off to the brain, the greater the damage. Immediate treatment can save people's lives and enhance their chances for successful recovery.