Dear Dr.: My grandmother passed away at the young age of 67 from a stroke. I’ve heard that this problem is genetic. Is this true? And if so, what can I do to prevent this from happening to me?
Answer: There are many potential causes for stroke and some can be genetic, such as a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol or a blood clotting disorder. Specific concerns such as this should be reviewed with your doctor.
Stroke and cardiovascular disease are the leading cause of death in the US and the five most common causes of stroke are: elevated cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension (elevated blood pressure), obesity and smoking.
These most common causes are best dealt with through lifestyle modification. Don’t smoke, get enough exercise, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
If you have a family history of early heart disease please contact your doctor to review your health and those risk factors specific to you.
NOTE: Dr. Jennifer Franchuck is a primary care physician at Camarena Health in Oakhurst. Health-related questions can be sent to her at: AsktheDoc@camarenahealth.org.