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Doctor Discusses Risk of Strokes

Lowering blood pressure, improving diet and quitting smoking can help reduce the causes of stroke, a malady with risks increasing with age, poor diet and other factors, a doctor said Thursday.

Taing Tek Hong described two kinds of strokes to “Hello VOA” listeners, one in which a blood clot or other blockage reaches the brain and one where a blood vessel bursts.

High blood pressure is the top cause of strokes, which are also contributed to by age, family history, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Symptoms following a stroke depend on which part of the brain was damaged. A victim may not be aware he suffered a stroke.

Other signs of a stroke can be “a sudden change in vision or sudden double vision, numbness of the face, weak arms or legs, weakness on one side of the body, disorientation, problems with speech, or trouble understanding others, trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination, painful headache that comes on suddenly and has no known cause,” Taing Tek Hong said.

The risk of a stroke increases with age, especially after age 55, and increase for people who’ve already had a stroke or have close family members who have had a stroke. Other risks are those who have had a heart attack, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, sicle cell anemia, cigarette smoking, high-fat or high-sodium diets, obesity and lack of exercise.