A stroke occurs when a bleed or blockage in the blood vessels cuts off or reduces blood supply to a part of your brain. This prevents the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the brain tissue, and the brain cells begin dying within minutes.
A stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a condition that needs immediate treatment. Early treatment of a stroke can reduce the chances of complications, including brain damage. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the fifth leading cause of mortality in the U.S.
The most common types of strokes are:
Of all the forms, this is the most common type of stroke. An ischemic stroke may take place when the blood vessels carrying blood to the brain become blocked, reducing blood and oxygen flow to a part of the brain. This usually happens due to the build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels or blood clots and other debris getting lodged in the blood vessels. This is also referred to as Carotid Artery Stenosis.
A hemorrhagic stroke can take place when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. Although this type of stroke is less common than an ischemic stroke, it can be more serious. Various factors can cause a hemorrhagic stroke, including high blood pressure that spirals out of control, taking too many medications with blood thinners, aneurysms, or trauma.
Causes of a Stroke
- High blood pressure – High blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of strokes.
- Cardiovascular disease – Vascular disease like clogged arteries, malfunctioning of the heart valves, irregularities in heartbeat, heart infection, and heart defects can lead to strokes, especially in elders.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco – Smoking can lead to several risk factors such as a build-up of fatty deposits in the neck artery, high blood pressure, and thickening of the blood. This can lead to blood clots in the blood vessels. Even second-hand smoke exposure can put you at risk for stroke.
- Obesity – If you are obese or overweight, you are more likely to suffer from a stroke.
- Diabetes – Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes go hand in hand and are all factors that put you at most risk of having a stroke.
- Family history – Family genes can also increase your odds of having a stroke, heart attack, or conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the major risk factors.
Ways to Prevent a Stroke
Some measures to lower your risk of getting a stroke, regardless of the family history or age, include:
- Monitoring your blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for a stroke. Monitor your blood pressure regularly and treat it if it elevates to improve your vascular health.
- Managing your weight
Being overweight is linked to complications like diabetes and hypertension that heighten your risk of having a stroke. Lower your calorie intake and exercise more. Discuss with your doctor to create an effective personal weight loss strategy.
- Exercising regularly
Regular exercise will help you stay fit, and manage your weight and blood pressure better, thereby lowering your odds of having a stroke.
- Avoiding smoking and drinking
Smoking causes plaque build-up in the neck arteries and blood thickening, which can cause clotting. Drinking can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, liver damage, and various other conditions, which can increase the risk of a stroke. Follow a healthy diet and quit smoking to reduce your risk of having a stroke. Also, if you drink alcohol, do it in moderation.
- Monitoring your blood sugar level
Monitor your blood sugar regularly through exercise, medications, and a healthy diet. Diabetes can cause the blood vessels to rupture over time and lead to the formation of clots inside them.
If you are looking for vascular disease treatment or a stroke specialist in Johns Creek, Cumming, Lawrenceville, and Rosewell, visit our team of experts at the North Atlanta Vascular Clinic.