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Important Info on Preventing Strokes

Drug Abuse
The use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine and crack cocaine, can cause stroke. Cocaine may act on other stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and blood vessel disease, to trigger a stroke. It decreases relative blood flow to the brain and heart by up to 30 percent, causes constriction of blood vessels, and inhibits blood vessel relaxation, leading to narrowing of the arteries. Cocaine also affects the heart, causing irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and rapid heart rate that can lead to the formation of blood clots.
Marijuana smoking may also be a risk factor for stroke. Marijuana decreases blood pressure and may interact with other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cigarette smoking, to cause rapidly fluctuating blood pressure levels, damaging blood vessels.
Other drugs, including amphetamines, heroin, and anabolic steroids (and even some common, legal drugs, such as caffeine and L-asparaginase and pseudoephedrine found in over-the-counter decongestants), have been suspected of increasing stroke risk. Many of these drugs are vasoconstrictors, meaning that they cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise.

Final Thoughts

Stroke risk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase a person's chances of developing the disease. While certain risk factors cannot be changed, it is important to realize that you do have control over many others. Regardless of your age, background, or health status, you can lower your risk of stroke -- and it doesn't have to be complicated. Protecting your blood vessels can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, whipping up a good vegetable soup, or getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight.
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Stroke Information

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