Why Being Obese Skyrockets Your Risk Of Having a Stroke

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Obesity is largely responsible for many of the most common health problems in the United States, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Most people are generally aware of these risks, regardless of whether or not they are obese. However, there are much more health risks associated with being obese.

Patients who are obese are estimated to have a significantly greater risk of having a stroke than their normal-weight counterparts. Not only that, but studies in the past have estimated that an additional unit of BMI is related to an increased stroke risk of up to 6%, compared to an individual’s original risk of having a stroke. Other factors influence stroke risk, such as age, smoking, and a history of ischemic attacks.

So how do obesity and stroke risk relate? And how can you start reducing the risk of stroke? Let’s find out!

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How Obesity & Stroke Risk Are Linked

Obesity has been found to be related to an increased risk of stroke, however it’s unknown whether the problem is caused by the excess body weight or if the problem is simply related to it.

There are two different types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes happen when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked, causing blood flow to that area of the brain to stop. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain starts to leak or rupture.

What we do know is that high blood pressure is the most likely culprit for an increased risk of both hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. High blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and cause them to be more likely to burst. Not only that, but high blood pressure can make the arteries more narrow and make it easier for clots to form.

How You Can Start Reducing The Risk of Stroke

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke, including:

  • Lose weight. High blood pressure caused by excess weight should be treated through weight loss, whether that be through diet and exercise or through weight loss surgery.
  • Stop smoking, if you do. Smoking is implicated in a plethora of health risks including an increased risk of stroke.
  • Manage high blood pressure with medication. Since high blood pressure is responsible for a great deal of increased stroke risk caused by obesity, managing hypertension with medication can help reduce your stroke risk overall.

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