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The Link Between High Blood Pressure and Stroke

The Link Between High Blood Pressure and Stroke

High blood pressure does more than increase the risk of stroke; it’s also one of the primary causes of kidney failure. Force against your artery walls that remains high causes damage throughout the body.

When it comes to stroke, hypertension is indeed a major risk factor. That’s why it’s crucial to get your blood pressure under control as soon as you’re aware that you have high blood pressure. Interventional cardiology and vascular medicine physician Nader Chadda, MD, FACC, FSCAI, specializes in stroke prevention

The good news is that lifestyle changes and managing chronic conditions can prevent most strokes. Read on to learn about the link between hypertension and stroke, what you can do to protect your cardiovascular health and how Advanced Heart and Vascular Associates in Hudson and Brooksville, Florida, can help. 

Two types of stroke

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes, which account for most cases, occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. 

Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a weakened blood vessel ruptures, often a result of the constant strain placed on artery walls by high blood pressure. Both types lead to parts of the brain being deprived of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in brain cell death.

Hypertension hikes stroke risk

Hypertension puts your arteries under constant stress. An excessive amount of stress within your arteries weakens and destroys the artery walls. Think of it as an overinflated tire or balloon. 

Both of the two primary kinds of strokes are more common in people with high blood pressure. In most cases, a clot or other blockage in the blood supply to the brain causes a stroke. 

Within minutes, brain cells begin to die without oxygen. A clot often originates at the location of a blocked artery or elsewhere in the body before traveling to the brain. Additionally, high blood pressure accelerates atherosclerosis, a disorder that causes your arteries to become stiff, narrow, and filled with fatty plaque.

High blood pressure also increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (Afib), an irregular heart rhythm. In Afib, blood gathers in the heart, increasing the risk of a clot forming. AFib is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke.

Recognizing the warning signs

Key signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T.: Face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, and time to call emergency services. Recognizing these symptoms promptly can be life-saving.

The critical role of regular health checkups

One of the most important steps in breaking the link between high blood pressure and stroke is committing to regular health checkups. These exams give your doctor an opportunity to detect hypertension early. Regular visits to your health care provider offer the chance to monitor your blood pressure closely and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

During these checkups, Dr. Chadda can also evaluate your overall cardiovascular health, identify any other risk factors for stroke, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, and offer guidance on how to manage them. 

These visits are invaluable for discussing lifestyle habits, dietary choices, and exercise routines that can positively impact your blood pressure and overall well-being.

Preventing stroke — life’s essential 8

Eight lifestyle habits can prevent most strokes, according to the American Heart Association. Called “life’s essential 8,” the habits to adopt and stick toare:

As you can see, managing chronic conditions like high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and high cholesterol, along with adopting a heart-healthy diet, moving your body more, and ensuring that you get restful sleep can significantly cut your stroke risk. 

To learn more about stroke prevention, and to schedule a visit, give Advanced Heart and Vascular Associates a call or send us a message today!

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