What Causes a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain is either cut off or reduced, causing the blockage of oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain, resulting in dead brain cells. A stroke is a medical emergency because strokes can lead to permanent disability or death and timely treatment is crucial. Timely medical intervention can reduce brain damage and the possible complications.
There are three main types of stroke:
- Ischemic Stroke: This is the most common of all stroke cases and is caused when an artery in the brain gets obstructed due to a clot, resulting in prevention of oxygen-rich blood from being transported to brain cells.
- Haemorrhagic Stroke: This happens when a damaged blood vessel splits and normally occurs due to Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) or Aneurysms.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA): Also known as a mini-stroke, occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is stalled. Normal blood flow continues after a small amount of time, and symptoms stop. However, TIA should be considered as a medical emergency, despite the blockage of the artery and the symptoms being temporary. They serve as warning signs for impending strokes and signify that there is a clot source in the heart or partially blocked artery.
Many factors can increase the risk of having a stroke. Some can also increase your chances of having a heart attack.
- High Blood Pressure: Usually called Hypertension, itis a common cause of strokes.
- Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your chances of suffering from a stroke. Cigarette smoke can thicken the blood, making it more prone to clotting. Even passive smoking can affect you.
- Diabetes: People who have Diabetes also have high blood pressure and are more likely to be obese, both raising the possibility of a stroke. Diabetes damages your blood vessels, which makes a stroke more likely. If you have a stroke when your blood sugar levels are high, the damage to your brain is higher.
- Hereditary: Strokes can be hereditary. You and your relatives might share a tendency to get diabetes or high blood pressure. Some strokes can be brought on by a genetic illness that obstructs blood flow to the brain.
- Heart Disease: These conditions consist of faulty heart valves and also Atrial Fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, which trigger most of all strokes among the very elderly. You can also have blocked arteries from fatty deposits.
- Weight and Exercise: Your likelihood of a stroke will increase if you’re overweight. You can reduce the chances by working out every day. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk, or doing muscle-strengthening exercises like working with weights and push-ups can help.