Warning signs and risk factors of stroke

Oklahoman Published: October 3, 2009
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

You can reduce the risk of stroke by becoming aware of your risk factors. Some you can’t change or control; some you can, by making a few changes in your daily habits or taking medicine as prescribed. You may be at risk for stroke if:

• You are a man over 45 years old or a woman over 55 years old

• Your blood pressure is 120-139/80-89 mm Hg or higher

• You smoke

• You are overweight or obese

• You are physically inactive

• You or a family member has diabetes

• Your total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL or higher

• Your HDL (good) cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL

• You have a family history of stroke

Risk for stroke increases as people age, but high blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, high cholesterol levels and excessive drinking can be controlled or eliminated.