HEART STROKES AND THE ELDERLY
A stroke can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 65. Because strokes are more common in the elderly, it’s important for patients and caregivers to be aware of the risks and symptoms associated with them. Knowing what to do if a stroke occurs can help improve the chances of a successful recovery. By understanding the risks and warning signs of a stroke, patients can take steps to protect themselves and get treatment if they experience symptoms.
When discussing the effects of a stroke on the elderly, many people wonder how much age plays a role. Questions such as ‘can an 80-year-old recover from a stroke?’ or ‘can a 70-year-old recover from a stroke?’ are often discussed among families with aging loved ones. The good news is that, thanks to advancements in medical science, seniors up into their 80s and 90s are having better recovery outcomes than ever before following a stroke. For seniors of advanced age, as with any stroke patients, one of the most important things is for the patient to be surrounded by the right support and that they have access to the right kinds of care.
What are the risk factors for stroke, and what can you do to reduce your risk?
Lower your risk of stroke
Some risk factors for stroke, like age, race, and family history, can’t be controlled. But you can make changes to lower your risk of stroke. Talk to your doctor about what you can do. Even if you’re in perfect health, follow these suggestions:
Control your blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked often. If it is high, follow your doctor’s advice to lower it. Treating high blood pressure lowers the risk of both stroke and heart disease.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for stroke. It’s never too late to quit.
Control your cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, work with your doctor to lower it. Cholesterol, a type of fat in the blood, can build up on the walls of your arteries. In time, this can block blood flow and lead to a stroke.
Control your diabetes. Untreated diabetes can damage blood vessels and also lead to narrowed arteries and stroke. Follow your doctor’s suggestions for keeping diabetes under control.
Eat healthy foods. Eat foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.
Exercise regularly. Try to make physical activity a part of your everyday life. Do things you like; for example, take a brisk walk, ride a bicycle, or go swimming. Talk with your health care provider if you haven’t been exercising and you want to start a vigorous program or increase your physical activity.
If you have had a stroke in the past, it’s important to reduce your risk of a second stroke. Your brain helps you recover from a stroke by drawing on body systems that now do double duty. That means a second stroke can be twice as bad.
The neurologists at THE BRAIN CENTER are specially trained in the care and treatment of stroke patients. To learn more information about how our neurology team can help you recover from a stroke, call us at our office at: (786) 565-8735