The largest cause of stroke is hypertension, or high blood pressure. It is characterized by readings of 140/90 and above. Hypertension causes damage to the major organs, such as the kidneys, heart, and eyes. It can also cause weakened areas in the blood vessels to burst, leading to the leakage of blood into the brain. This results in hemorrhagic stroke.
When vessels narrow and shut off blood supply, this is an Ischemic stroke. It is caused by plaque build up in the treaties or a blood clot that grows to indeed block the artery preventing blood flow to the rest of the brain. These blood clots can come from another part of the body or form in the artery itself.
A clot that breaks off and travels to another part of the body is called an embolism. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for these types of clots, due to the rapid contractions, or fluttering of the atria, resulting in formation of blood clots.
Blood clots that form in the artery (thrombus) are usually found on plaque deposits. Cracks develop in the plaque causing cells to adhere to it forming a blood clot. The clot then grows in size as more cells accumulate, leading to blocking off the artery to blood flow. This causes tissue on the other side of the blockage to be depleted of oxygen rich blood and nutrients, leading to cell death and ischemia. The result is a stroke. This is the same mechanism that exists in heart attack, only it involves the heart.
Types of Stroke:
Hemorrhagic: Bleeding into the brain caused by a Ruptured blood vessel.
Ischemic: Caused by narrowed or enclosed treaties due plaque deposits.
Some risks for stroke include:
High serum cholesterol levels
Fractures can put people at risk as well, and is of concern especially with the elderly. Fractures are common in elderly due to falls. Tissue from a fractured bone can enter the blood stream and cause a fat embolism to occur, which can travel to the lungs causing respiratory failure, to the brain to cause a stroke, or to the heart resulting in a heart attack.
Reducing risk factors and prevention work in unision to avoid what can be a life altering disability.
Maintain blood pressure in the normal range
Lower high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Manage blood sugar levels
Eating a healthy diet: Consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cuts, cereals, nuts, and pastas. Serve lean meats and fish, as well as foods that are high in fiber and low in fats and cholesterol. Reduce red meat consumption to once per month. Knowing the causes of stroke will help you to reduce your risk, and possibly prevent its occurrence.