October is marked as the month of World Stroke Day. If you are a man and reading this article, you most probably didn’t know this yet, but studies suggest that men are more likely to get strokes when it comes to women. And even if you do, it is important to know why.
Let us understand what a stroke is.
Knowing what a stroke is
A stroke, also known as a brain attack, occurs when blood flow to a portion of the brain is obstructed or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Brain cells perish when they lack oxygen. A medical emergency is a stroke. Some stroke therapies are only effective if administered during the first three hours of symptom onset. Delaying treatment raises the chance of dying or suffering lasting brain damage.
Why are men at a higher risk?
Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a significant risk factor for stroke. More than 50.4% of males (50.4%) have high blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg or take blood pressure medication.
5 The blood pressure of four out of five males with high blood pressure is not under control. These are some more stroke risk factors:
Blood vessel damage from smoking can result in a stroke. One in seven males smokes. Men also smoke more frequently than women do.
Obesity and being overweight Obesity or being overweight raises the risk of stroke. In the US, about 3 out of 4 males are overweight or obese.
Diabetes can damage brain blood vessels, which increases the risk of stroke. One in seven males has diabetes.
excessive alcohol use Overindulging in alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase stroke risk. Additionally, it raises blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that might harden your arteries. Alcohol abuse is more common in men than in women.
Insufficient physical activity Lack of exercise can result in various medical issues that increase the risk of stroke. In 2017, about half of men did what was recommended for aerobic exercise and building muscle.
How Do Strokes Occur?
There are two different stroke types:
Ischemic strokes resemble heart attacks except that they occur in the brain’s blood arteries. Blood vessels in the brain, blood arteries connecting to the brain, or blood vessels in other parts of the body that travel to the brain can all develop clots. These clots cut off oxygen to a portion of the brain by obstructing blood flow to the brain’s cells. Brain cells start to die without oxygen after they fall into shock. Therefore, the more brain damage occurs, the longer you go without receiving treatment for a stroke. Ischemic strokes can also occur when the blood vessels in the brain get blocked by excessive plaque (fatty deposits and cholesterol). These strokes are the most common kind. Most strokes are ischemic, around 80% of them.
When a blood vessel in the brain bursts or breaks, hemorrhagic strokes occur. Blood leaks into the brain as a result, harming brain cells. These strokes are less frequent, but they can be more severe. The outcome is the same, even if the cause is different from that of an ischemic stroke: the brain cells cannot receive the blood they require. In the year following a hemorrhagic stroke, more than 60% of patients die, and those who live tend to be substantially more impaired. The most frequent causes of hemorrhagic stroke are cerebral aneurysms and excessive blood pressure. A blood vessel wall weakness or thinning is known as an aneurysm.
How to prevent a stroke
Strong men prioritise their own health. Most strokes can be avoided by managing medical issues and adopting healthy lifestyle modifications.
Understanding the ABCs of heart and brain health
Aspirin: By avoiding blood clots, aspirin may help lower your risk of stroke, but you should consult your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to take.
Blood Pressure: To lower your blood pressure, adopt a healthy lifestyle. If one has been prescribed, take the blood pressure medication as instructed.
Manage your blood cholesterol by adopting a healthy lifestyle : Take a cholesterol medication as instructed if one has been prescribed. Study up on cholesterol.
Avoid smoking at all costs: If you smoke, curb this habit as soon as possible and try to put an end to it.
Make lifestyle adjustments
Eat well: Choose nutritious foods with lower sodium or salt content to lower blood pressure, and fibre and whole grains to lower cholesterol. Simple measures you can take to improve your healthy eating habits.
Engage in regular exercise: Regular exercise keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy and aids in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Adults should engage in muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days per week and get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of physical activity per week. 13 Find inspiration and tips from the “Live to the Beat” campaign on how to be physically active every day.
Work together with your medical team:
Consult your doctor about your risk factors for stroke, such as your age and whether you or anybody in your family has experienced one. Learn from the “Live to the Beat” campaign how to choose the best doctor for you and from the “Start Small. Live Big.” campaign how to take baby steps toward a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Get other medical issues, such as diabetes or heart disease, under control.
Often, men take their health for granted at a young age and suffer the consequences later. It is critical to investigate the risk factors for a stroke and how to avoid one. This World Stroke Day, we can spread awareness about how stroke can be scarier for men.