What Causes Seniors to Have Strokes?

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Statistics indicate that approximately 800,000 people in the United States each year have strokes, which remain the fifth-leading reason for death in the country. Although there are different types of strokes, when these events occur, blood rich in oxygen and nutrients cannot circulate, which causes neurons in the affected region to die. Cell death causes the symptoms exhibited during a stroke. There are many reasons seniors succumb to cerebral vascular events.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the heart develops an erratic rhythm and an abnormally fast rate. The irregular rate causes blood to accumulate in the heart, which then clots. The clots eventually leave the heart and enter the brain. When a clot cannot pass through a small blood vessel, obstruction and subsequent cell death occurs. Older adults can reduce the risk of this type of stroke by taking the appropriate medication to regulate their heart rate.

Many seniors who find it challenging to manage their medications on their own find that a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. Mesa families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Older postmenopausal women are known to take estrogen and progesterone replacements. Once menopause occurs, the hormones are no longer manufactured in the body, which leads to a variety of symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep pattern disturbances. However, a study performed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that women taking estrogen or estrogen and progesterone combinations have a 41 percent increased risk of having a stroke. The hormones are known to contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis. Senior women who take hormones and smoke or have diabetes or hypertension put themselves in an even higher risk category. Older men who receive testosterone replacement for erectile dysfunction are also at risk. The hormone increases the likelihood of developing blood clots, elevates LDL cholesterol, and reduces HDL cholesterol. Seniors should consult with a healthcare provider for alternative treatment.

Inactivity

Seniors who live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to become overweight. They often consume more calories than they spend. Remaining in the same position for hours on end raises the risk of clot formation. Sedentary seniors also often consume an unhealthy diet, which leads to elevated LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels that contribute to plaque formation in the blood vessels. Inactivity commonly contributes to hypertension. The combination of narrowed blood vessels secondary to plaques or clots plus excessive pressure may lead to a stroke caused by an obstructed or ruptured blood vessel. Older adults should strive to get 150 minutes of some type of exercise each week. 

If you’re the family caregiver for a loved one and you find it challenging to consistently help your loved one get the exercise he or she needs, consider hiring a professional caregiver to take over your duties for an hour or two a day or a few days a month. Mesa respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Smoking

The American Lung Association reports that smokers double their risk of strokes compared to people who don’t smoke. The chemicals used to process tobacco products elevate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and cause hypertension. The combination of effects leaves older adults susceptible to blood vessel weakening and potential ruptures. Family members can help their older loved ones stop smoking by consulting with a physician or engaging them in diversionary activities.

Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still take actions to prevent strokes, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Mesa elderly home 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (480) 699-4899.