• Denae Asel-Templin

What are the Risk Factors for Stroke? - National Stroke Awareness Month

In May alone, over 66,000 Americans will suffer a stroke, many unaware of the symptoms or risks. May is National Stroke Awareness Month - let’s focus our attention on educating ourselves with stroke and the associated risk factors, symptoms and recovery.

Modifiable Risks & Prevention

The time is now. Understand your risk factors and make at least one change to reduce your chance of stroke.

  • High blood pressure (#1 cause of stroke), also known as hypertension, which weakens your blood vessels and can also cause clots.

  • High cholesterol levels (LDL). This means high levels of fat in your bloodstream, which can block blood vessels.

  • Smoking and/or drinking heavily, which damages blood vessels and raises your blood pressure.

  • Diabetes- difficulties producing or using insulin. Which may contribute to extra sugar in your blood and potential of clots.

  • Lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and/or obesity.

Changes such as stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and sticking to a balanced diet can reduce your chances of stroke.

Stroke risks and prevention chart


Popular misconception - strokes only happen to adults. Your chances of stroke do increase with age but a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in United States and causes more long-term disabilities than any other disease. Knowing the signs and symptoms are critical. The acronym FAST is a simple way to remember the most common symptoms - Face drooping Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call emergency.

Stroke symptoms - FAST

Beyond FAST, there are several other sudden symptoms you should be aware of.

  • Dizziness, and problems walking/staying balanced

  • Numbness, especially on one side of the body

  • Trouble seeing

  • Severe headache, if combined with other symptoms, is a red flag.

  • Confusion and trouble communicating

In a recent interview with MayoClinic Radio, Dr. Robert Brown Jr. talks about how these symptoms can be “a very important warning sign of a potential risk of stroke”. These temporary symptoms could be a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a small, short-term blockage to the blood vessel. Strokes can and are more likely to happen after TIAs. While many people dismiss these concerns, knowing the risks of TIAs can only help when seeking treatment.

Rehab and Therapy

Experiences after stroke vary greatly. Motor and sensory impairments are only a few amongst many possible side effects. The founder of Ashana Health, Ashesh Patel, is passionate about stroke awareness and recovery for those affected.

"The road to recovery following a stroke is often strenuous and extensive.” Mr. Patel says from personal experience, with one of the motivations behind the DynaWheel seeing his grandfather recover from a stroke. “The DynaWheel offers patients an engaging and motivating platform to assist in the rehabilitation process."

DynaWheel - gamified rehabilitation device

Adjusting to everyday life after a stroke is difficult, as one may require physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Ashana strives to support those affected by the physical and cognitive effects of stroke through using the DynaWheel in tandem with Occupational Therapy. Affordable and easily portable, the video game-based device is designed to enhance adherence to therapy and accelerate therapeutic results. While traditional therapy is effective, many patients find the repetitive activities frustrating and often boring. With customizable and interactive gameplay, the DynaWheel can help meet the needs of each individual patient as they recover.

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