Stroke is currently the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability among older adults. In fact, age is one of the single highest risk factors for stroke, even if the senior has no other health conditions.
To help protect your aging parents and loved ones from stroke, it’s important to learn as much as possible about stroke factors and aging. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Sonoma County senior home care, offers four statistic-based stroke facts to be aware of:
- Beginning at age 55, the risk of having a stroke more than doubles every 10 years.
The vast majority of those who have a stroke are over 65, about 75% in fact. This cements stroke’s reputation as an age-related illness. Having a stroke at a later age often means a less than ideal recovery, but for older people, prevention can have an even greater impact.
- 25 to 40% of people who have a stroke will have another within 5 years.
The first stroke or mini-stroke (aka a transient ischemic attack) is the best predictor for whether someone will have additional episode. Recurrent or multiple strokes have a higher rate of both mortality and disability. This is in part due to decreased resiliency in the brain because of previous damage.
- Close to 50% of Americans have one or more risk factors for stroke.
Risk factors are generally divided into two categories – factors that can’t be changed and those that can. For example, heredity and gender cannot be changed, but both influence the likelihood of having a stroke. By contrast, diet and smoking can also increase the risk of having a stroke and both can be altered, although often with great effort.
- An estimated 80% of strokes could have been prevented.
While some strokes are the result of trauma or malformations in the brain, many are related to factors that people can influence through good healthcare and lifestyle decisions. These include monitoring and treating high blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol levels, and managing other chronic conditions like atrial fibrillation (Afib) and diabetes.
While no one can predict the future, modern medicine is increasingly able to pinpoint specific risk factors associated with stroke, including advancing age and lifestyle. Armed with this information, seniors at risk for stroke, along with their doctors and caregivers, can work to reduce the likelihood of having a stroke.
If you have an aging parent or loved one who has recently suffered a stroke and you are unsure of the next steps to take, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a premier provider of Sonoma County stroke care and offer various levels of assistance ranging from part-time hourly care to 24 hour overnight care. Our highly trained and experienced stroke caregivers are compassionate individuals who can help with activities of daily living, while promoting independence for their clients.
When it comes to caring for an aging parent or loved one, you don’t have to do it alone. Call 707-843-4368 and speak with one of our friendly Care Mangers and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our stroke care services.