According to the National Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke each year. Approximately 25 percent of these individuals will have a second stroke during their lifetime. The risk of a recurrent stroke is greatest during the first five years after the initial stroke. Since the brain has already been damaged because of the first stroke, recurrent strokes have a higher rate of disability and death.
If your loved one has had a stroke and you are not able to provide care and assistance, consider hiring a trained caregiver. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Altamonte Springs, FL, senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
The risk factors for a second stroke are similar to those for the first stroke. By addressing these factors, the risk of a second stroke can be greatly reduced.
1. Underlying Medical Conditions
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and blood clots, which can increase the risk of a recurrent stroke. Seniors who have had a stroke should work closely with their doctors to manage underlying health conditions that can increase the risk of another stroke by implementing a regimen of medication and lifestyle modification.
2. Ignoring Doctor’s Prescriptions
According to the National Stroke Association, as many as 25 percent of stroke survivors quit taking prescribed medications designed to prevent a second stroke in as little as three months. This is when the risk of a second stroke is the highest. It is critical for seniors to take these medications exactly as prescribed and to get any follow-up tests recommended by the doctor to ensure the medications remain at therapeutic levels.
3. Uncontrolled Alcohol Consumption
Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day can increase the risk of a recurrent stroke by as much as 50 percent. Seniors with a history of stroke should consult their doctors about how much alcohol, if any, is safe to drink.
4. Excessive Smoke
Smoking is a leading risk factor for a recurrent stroke. A senior who stops smoking can reduce his or her risk of a stroke to that of a non-smoker’s risk in as little as five years, and those who have tried to quit but were unsuccessful should not give up. The average smoker makes six attempts to stop smoking before quitting for good. A doctor can recommend various smoking cessation therapies that can increase the chances of quitting successfully.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
A lack of physical activity contributes to obesity, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other stroke risk factors. Sedentary seniors are also more likely to develop blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Stroke survivors who engage in physical activity at least five times a week are less likely to experience a second stroke. An exercise routine is also important for regaining physical function that may have been lost as a result of the initial stroke. Consult a doctor or physical therapist before your loved one starts an exercise routine to ensure it is safe and tailored to his or her specific needs.
When recovering from a stroke, seniors often need extensive assistance once they return home from the hospital. Orlando stroke care professionals are available 24/7 to help seniors maintain a high quality of life while managing the challenges of stroke recovery.
If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Windermere, FL, 24-hour care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors. Call (407) 232-7155 today to speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.