Obesity and Stroke Risk

Did you know that strokes kill more than 133,000 Americans annually?  This makes stroke the leading cause of serious, long-term disability.  Fortunately, eighty percent of strokes are preventable! May is 'American Stroke Month', which focuses on educating individuals about what strokes are, what are the risk factors, and how to prevent this condition.

A stroke is a "brain attack" that can happen to anyone, at any time.  It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.  When that happens , part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.  How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

High blood pressure is the greatest, and most controllable risk factor for stroke.  Currently, one in three American adjusts has high blood pressure.  Excess body weight and obesity are also linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Obesity can increase the risk of stroke due to inflammation caused by excess fatty tissue. This can lead to difficulty in blood flow and an increased risk of blockage, both of which can cause strokes.  Also, excess fatty tissue has been shown to have a significant association with risk of stroke, independent of other vascular risk factors.  Losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can decrease your risk of stroke.

The best way to achieve a lower risk of stroke is by eating a heart healthy diet, in proper portions, and by being regularly physically active.

Looking for a fun way to get active?  Join the MWLC Walking Team at the upcoming Michigan AHA Heartwalks!  Register Here:  http://mwlc.com/Community_Events.php

More Information on American Stroke Month Here: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/AmericanStrokeMonth/American-Stroke-Month_UCM_459942_SubHomePage.jsp

More Information About Obesity and Stroke Risk: http://www.obesityaction.org/wp-content/uploads/Obesity-and-Stroke-Fact-Sheet.pdf