Strokes are entirely too common, being the 5th-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the #1 cause of long-term disability. Many factors contribute to the increased risk of strokes, including health conditions and lifestyle factors. While our arteries naturally become narrower and harder as we age, these risk factors can worsen or speed up the process.
How can you detect a stroke? Knowing the FAST indicators is a great start. The Neuralert Stroke Detection Monitor was developed by doctors to help identify stroke symptoms rapidly, in order to limit the damage to the brain and improve patient outcomes. Our technology is focused on asymmetrical movement of the arm (such as an unnatural falter or weakness).
First and foremost, patients who have suffered a prior stroke or TIA are far more likely to have another stroke. Then, there are other conditions, such as CHF or diabetes that appear to create a higher risk of stroke.
Blood vessels can become damaged by long-term conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. People with cancer have a 20% increased risk of stroke. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which stick to the walls of the blood vessels, can lead to narrowing of the arteries, or occlusion. Such blockage could cause an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Additionally, clots can break off the walls of the arteries, travel through the bloodstream to the brain, and get lodged there. Atrial fibrillation can lead to a clot forming in the heart that travels to the brain.
Inherited Blood Disorders and Ethnicity
Some blood diseases that cause increased clotting can lead to ischemic strokes. For instance, those with sickle cell disease are 2-3 times more likely to have a stroke, and at a younger age, than those who do not have the disease. While sickle cell disease is the most common hereditary blood disease to cause clotting, there are numerous rarer conditions. These conditions are often not diagnosed until a fairly young and otherwise-healthy person has a stroke. Since they are hereditary, a family history of strokes at younger ages is an indication there may be an underlying blood disease.
Other blood diseases that cause excessive bleeding can lead to hemorrhagic strokes, such as hemophilia, which is caused by reduced levels of one or more of the proteins needed to form healthy blood clotting.
Strokes also occur most frequently among the black population and those of South Asian heredity. The increased frequency of stroke among the black population may be partly due to sickle cell disease, which is almost exclusive to those of African heredity.
Some medications can also increase the risk of stroke, even if the condition that the medication is treating or controlling does not itself increase the risk of stroke. Blood thinners may cause a hemorrhagic stroke if the dose is too high. Hormone-replacement therapy and combined birth control pills have been associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Heavy smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, obesity, and a diet rich in junk food and unhealthy saturated fats increase the risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels, raising the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, and increasing blood pressure. All these conditions are risk factors for stroke. When these poor lifestyle choices occur in combination with a health condition or medication already mentioned, the likelihood of stroke increases even more.
Unfortunately, recent studies indicate that as many as 17% of all strokes in the U.S. occur in people who are hospitalized for some other reason. When a stroke is quickly detected, immediate treatment can often prevent or limit long-term damage. But sadly, in-hospital strokes often go undetected for hours, much longer than strokes that occur outside of the hospital, which are usually noticed fairly quickly by those who are in contact with the stroke victim. Thus, the outcomes of in-hospital strokes are actually worse. For this reason, we at Neuralert are focusing on helping hospitals decrease the devastation caused by in-hospital strokes.
Neuralert Technologies combines a unique, non-invasive wristband technology with a state-of-the-art patented algorithm developed by the University of Pennsylvania to detect asymmetry in arm movement, one of the initial indications of stroke onset. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how Neuralert can help your hospital improve your patient outcomes and reduce the significant costs associated with in-hospital strokes.