Causes and risks of a stroke – what to know to prevent it

Every cell in your body requires oxygen to stay alive and function properly.

Oxygen is delivered to your organs by special hemoglobin-contained cells, which circulate in the blood.

If your brain is deprived in oxygen, this commonly results in stroke, sometimes called brain attack. Every year more than 160 000 Americans die from this issue. And even more people stay disabled for the whole life.

Stroke may occur, when any of the arteries that normally deliver blood to the brain tissue, become blocked or extremely narrowed by fatty plaques. They may develop within the brain arteries or travel from distant areas (often from the heart).

This type of stroke, called ischemic stroke, is responsible for 80% of all cases.

Another, less frequent, type is the hemorrhagic stroke, which happens if a blood vessel ruptures inside the brain and the blood leaks out of it.

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Although hemorrhagic stroke is less common, it may cause more severe symptoms and result in more serious consequences.

The brain artery may tear off, if there are weak spots (aneurysms) in their walls. Unmanaged blood pressure and excessive consumption of blood thinners are also potential causes of hemorrhagic stroke.

Actually there is high number of factors, which may increase your risks for getting stroke. While some of them like age and genetic predisposition cannot be modified, others may be easily eliminated by your own.

Remember that your risks of stroke are really high, if you:

#1. Smoke – tobacco smoke is full of toxic chemicals which absorb into the bloodstream, reducing amount of oxygen, increasing blood clotting and damaging vessels.

#2. Don’t control your blood pressure – hypertension is one of the most significant risk factors for brain attack. Optimize your diet, go easy on sodium, exercise and speak with your doctor about medications to manage your high blood pressure and prevent dangerous consequences.

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#3. Carry extra pounds – excessive body weight is something more than unattractive folds on the waist. Being overweight or obese is associated with serious disorders like diabetes, stroke and heart attack.

#4. Don’t move enough – lack of physical activity leads to obesity and makes your heart weaker. Medical experts recommend exercising at least 30 minutes a day in moderate intensity. The more you exercise, the healthier heart and the cleaner vessels you have.

#5. Have high cholesterol levels – too much of “bad” LDL cholesterol leads to developing fatty plaques within the vessels, which may grow large and block the lumen.

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#6. Overuse alcohol – drinking one glass a day is OK, but excessive consumption of alcohol was found to elevate blood pressure and increase risks for stroke occurrence.

#7. Have heart disease – atrial fibrillation is a common culprit of stroke among older adults. Atherosclerosis and hypertension are another serious risk factors. If not corrected properly, these conditions may result in blood clots formation and stroke development.

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