Unhealthy Habits That Raise the Risk of Strokes in Older Adults

Statistics indicate that nearly 795,000 people in the United States have strokes each year. Approximately one-third of stroke survivors are no longer able to walk independently, and one-fourth require daily assistance with various activities. The La Mesa in-home care specialists at Coast Care Partners discuss some of the unhealthiest habits that raise the risk of strokes in the senior years.


Smoking raises the risk of having a stroke by up to 50 percent. Nicotine and the chemicals used to process tobacco cause several adverse effects on the human body. Smokers commonly develop atherosclerosis from plaque accumulation and clot formations. Using tobacco products also raises blood pressure and heart rate to unhealthy levels. Seniors can significantly reduce their stroke risk by giving up cigarettes.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Consuming one or two alcoholic drinks per day has been shown to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. However, drinking more than that often raises blood pressure and causes other organ damage that increases the risk of stroke.

Being Obese

More than one-third of adults in the United States are considered obese. Being overweight adds more stress to the cardiovascular system. Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets contribute to obesity and an increased risk of strokes.

Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle

Lack of exercise can weaken the cardiovascular system, raise blood pressure levels, and enable blood clots to form. Sedentary seniors are also often overweight, as the calories consumed are typically higher than the calories burned. Older adults who live sedentary lives are more likely to experience a stroke attack than active seniors.

Following an Unhealthy Diet

Many seniors consume foods high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Fatty foods elevate LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and plaque formation. Plaque accumulates in the blood vessels and interferes with normal blood flow. Blood and fibrin clots exacerbate the issue. Clots may break free, travel to the brain, and cause a stroke. Many seniors develop sensitivities to salt, which could also cause high blood pressure.

Getting Insufficient Sleep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that up to one-third of adults in the United States don’t get enough restful sleep. Researchers from Columbia University found that inadequate sleep contributes to several medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease. The study indicates that seniors who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more, and their diets contain too many unhealthy foods. A lack of sleep also causes fatigue. Low energy levels inhibit a senior’s desire to be physically active.

Stroke is a serious health concern among the elderly. If your aging loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help with daily tasks, turn to Coast Care Partners. We provide the best elderly care La Mesa has to offer. Our caregivers can help your parent maintain a high quality of life while aging in the comfort of home. We also offer specialized stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s home care. Whether your elderly relative needs minor help with everyday activities or extensive 24-hour care, give us a call at 619-354-2544 today.