More Factors That Increase Stroke Risk
Carotid Artery Disease
The carotid artery is the main artery between the heart and brain. Fatty deposits found in the carotid artery could block this important blood supply. Depending on the amount of blockage, surgery may be performed to remove buildup in the artery.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. People with moderate to severe sleep apnea are three to four times more likely to have a stroke than those without the condition.
Heavy Consumption of Alcohol
High alcohol consumption is another modifiable risk factor for stroke. Generally, an increase in alcohol consumption leads to an increase in blood pressure. While stroke research scientists agree that heavy drinking is a risk for both hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, in several research studies daily consumption of smaller amounts of alcohol has been found to provide a protective influence against ischemic stroke, perhaps because alcohol decreases the clotting ability of platelets in the blood.
Moderate alcohol consumption may act in the same way as aspirin to decrease blood clotting and prevent ischemic stroke. Heavy alcohol consumption, though, may seriously deplete platelet numbers and compromise blood clotting and blood viscosity, leading to hemorrhage. In addition, heavy drinking or binge drinking can lead to a rebound effect after the alcohol is purged from the body. The consequences of this rebound effect are that blood viscosity (thickness) and platelet levels skyrocket after heavy drinking, increasing the risk for ischemic stroke.