What Leads to Strokes in Seniors?

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Various lifestyle and health factors can increase a senior’s stroke risk. However, your elderly loved one can take steps to address health conditions and make lifestyle choices that reduce his or her stroke risk. Here are some of the common causes of strokes and how your loved one can prevent them.

Smoking

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of strokes. According to the National Stroke Association, smokers have twice the risk of experiencing strokes than nonsmokers. When your loved one stops smoking, his or her stroke risk significantly decreases.

Atrial Fibrillation

Seniors with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have strokes than those with normal heartbeats. Atrial fibrillation happens when the heart develops an erratic rhythm, beating out of sync at an abnormally rapid rate. This irregular rhythm allows blood to pool in the heart, which can form clots. The clots leave the heart and head to the brain, where they become stuck in the smaller blood vessels, causing obstruction, cell death, and, ultimately, a stroke. If your loved one has atrial fibrillation, he or she can work closely with a physician to manage the condition and reduce his or her stroke risk. The doctor may prescribe medication to regulate your parent’s heart rate.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional homecare. Oshkosh families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Inactivity

Being overweight and physically inactive can increase the risk of experiencing a stroke. To reduce your loved one’s stroke risk, encourage him or her to maintain a healthy weight, ideally by participating in more physical activity. If your loved one needs help maintaining a regular exercise regimen, consider hiring an in-home caregiver.

A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise at home in safety and comfort. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Oshkosh, WI, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Hormones

Many older postmenopausal women take estrogen and progesterone supplements to replace hormones their bodies no longer manufacture. The reduced levels of these hormones due to menopause can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and disturbances in sleep patterns. However, senior women who use postmenopausal hormone therapy have a much higher risk of stroke than other women because the synthetic hormones have been shown to contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis. Senior women who also smoke or have hypertension or diabetes are at even greater risk for strokes. If your loved one smokes or has high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, talk with her doctor about alternatives to hormone therapy.

Various Existing Health Conditions

Seniors with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic heart failure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, and diabetes are at increased risk for having strokes. Though many of these health conditions are chronic, working with a doctor to get them under control can minimize the amount of damage they cause to your loved one’s body and reduce his or her stroke risk.

Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still take actions to prevent strokes, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. Elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (920) 216-6276 today.

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