Signs You’re Going to Die From a Stroke

Stroke is one of the top leading causes of death in the U.S. While you can’t completely prevent it from happening, you can make a few changes to increase your chances of staying alive for a long time. Are you in immediate danger? These signs can tell you.

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, know that you’re putting yourself at a much higher risk of stroke — and there’s no guarantee you’ll survive it. One “mini episode” is a terrifying stroke symptom you may not be aware of (page 9).

1. You’re over 50

Portrait Of A Mature Businesswoman Smiling

Age is a factor | Nandofotos/iStock/Getty Images

Your risk of having a stroke almost doubles every 10 years after you turn 55. This has a lot to do with your risk of disease and death generally going up the older you get. Heart problems and their risk factors (high blood pressure, cholesterol) especially put you at risk.

Next: Have trouble sleeping? This disorder could lead to an early death.

2. You have sleep apnea

Man sleeping in his bed

Trouble sleeping? You may be in trouble. | tommaso79/iStock/Getty Images

Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing while asleep. Your brain wakes you up so breathing can resume, but you might not even know it’s happening. Older adults with this disorder have an increased risk of stroke, probably because of the related risk factors.

Next: A little bit of this is actually a good thing — but too much could kill you.

3. You drink a lot of alcohol

Inclined Glass of beer

Moderation is key | photologica/iStock/Getty Images

The more alcohol you drink, the greater your chances of dying from a stroke. In some cases, light to moderate drinking can decrease your risk of one type of stroke, but heavy drinking has the opposite effect. Heavy drinking involves consuming three or more drinks per day for women, and four or more for men.

Next: Get this health condition under control right away.

4. You have high blood pressure

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient and checking blood pressure

Monitor your blood pressure regularly. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages 

If you aren’t being treated for this condition, you could damage the walls of your arteries and suffer a deadly stroke. High blood pressure also increases your risk of developing a type of artery disease that can cut off blood flow to your brain.

Next: This bad habit doesn’t just hurt your lungs.

5. You smoke

Smoking cigrette

Smoking does nothing but increase your stroke risk. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Inhaling cigarette smoke on a regular basis changes the cells in your body and impacts how much oxygen your blood can carry throughout your body. This isn’t just bad for your lungs and heart: it also makes you more likely to die from a stroke.

Next: Unfortunately, you might not know you have this problem until it’s too late.

6. Your arteries are clogged

Close-up of surgeons hands holding surgical scissors and passing surgical equipment , motion blur background.

When your brain can’t get oxygen, your body will shut down. | iStock.com/xmee

When the arteries that supply blood to your brain become blocked, your brain can’t get the oxygen it needs, and starts to shut down. Carotid artery disease, for example, occurs when 80% of your carotid artery is blocked, significantly increasing your chances of having a deadly stroke.

Next: This isn’t the only heart problem that could lead to a stroke.

7. You have another type of heart disease

heart monitor

These are various types of heart disease and several are very common. | Evryka23/iStock/Getty Images

Any disease that negatively impacts your heart’s ability to supply oxygen to your brain makes you more likely to have a stroke. This could mean your heart works overtime, without producing good results, or blood can’t get to the places it needs to go.

Next: Take your medications for this condition if you want to avoid having a stroke.

8. You have high cholesterol

Cheeseburger on the grill

High cholesterol may mean you cut down on meals like this. | rpernell/iStock/Getty Images 34

If you have high cholesterol, and you aren’t doing what you should be doing to keep your levels in a safer range, you’re increasing your chances of dying from a stroke. Excess cholesterol in your blood can clog your arteries and stop blood from getting to your brain, which can kill you.

Next: This “mini episode” is a terrifying stroke symptom.

9. You’ve had a mini stroke

hospital bed

If you’ve had a stroke, you may be in danger. | Darren McCollester/Getty Images

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a sort of “mini stroke” that occurs when blood flow to the brain becomes temporarily blocked. If you have had one or more of these, you need to tell your doctor about it. Don’t wait. TIAs are warning signs that a full-blown and much more dangerous stroke could happen soon.

Next: People with this disease have to manage their conditions carefully their whole lives.

10. You have sickle cell anemia

Visiting a doctor

This blood disorder could make you susceptible. | Nensuria/iStock/Getty Images

Certain blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, can make you much more likely to suffer a deadly stroke. The development of abnormal red blood cells increases your risk of developing blood clots that can travel to your brain and put your life in danger.

Next: This very dangerous habit has more than one health risk.

11. You’re an illegal drug user

Opioid epidemic

Messing around with these substances puts you at risk. | Stas_V/Getty Images

Consistently using drugs like heroine and cocaine can significantly increase your risk of stroke. While marijuana is not included in this category, past research does suggest that many people who end up abusing drugs that increase stroke risk start out smoking weed.

Next: This health condition might not seem related to having a stroke, but it is.

12. You have diabetes

man checking blood sugar level by glucometer

Does this little machine look familiar? | iStock.com/dolgachov

If you have type 2 diabetes, and don’t do much to keep it under control, you’re probably going to have a stroke. Over time, high levels of sugar in your blood can start to accumulate along the walls of the arteries in your neck. If those become blocked, your brain could lose oxygen and shut down.

Next: If your doctor tells you to make this lifestyle change, you should listen.

13. You’re overweight

young healthy girl on home scales

Weight can be a big danger sign of stroke. | Ensuria/Getty Images 

It might seem like having extra body fat isn’t that big of a deal, but if you aren’t trying to lose weight — especially if your doctor has strongly suggested you do so — you’re putting yourself at risk for a serious stroke.

Next: You should really consider going for a walk, at least.

14. You don’t exercise

man watching TV at night

Making sure you get your heart rate up is important to your overall health. | Artfoliophoto/iStock/Getty Images

Are your workout clothes hibernating in the bottom of a drawer? Do you spend most of your day just sitting around? Even just a few workouts a week can decrease your risk of having a stroke. Exercise improves blood flow and keeps your body in a better state of overall health.

Next: This is one of the most obvious signs a stroke could be deadly in your future.

15. You’ve had a stroke before

Surprisingly, heartburn can cause weight gain.

If you’ve had a stroke before, you’re at a higher risk. | Tom Foldes/iStock/Getty Images

There are plenty of people who have strokes and survive them. Unfortunately, your chances of having a stroke don’t go down as soon as you have one. In fact, people who have had strokes before are much more likely to have more than those who have never had one before.

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