A stroke happens when the blood supply to a section of your brain is reduced or interrupted thus depriving your brain tissues of nutrients and oxygen. If this continues for several minutes, your brain cells start dying. A stroke is a medical emergency that still kills people worldwide and should be treated with urgency. You can minimize potential complications and minimize brain damage if action is taken promptly. Knowing what causes stroke could be instrumental in treating and preventing a stroke.
Types of Strokes
There are two major ways in which a stroke can happen. One is caused when something causes bleeding in the brain and another when something blocks the flow of blood.
- Ischemic Stroke
This is the most common type of stroke as it happens in 8 out of 10 cases of stroke. This kind of stroke happens when the blood vessel responsible for taking blood to your brain gets plugged. It also happens when there’s poor blood flow from an irregular heartbeat thus form a blood clot or when fatty deposits contained in arteries break off and move towards the brain.
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
A Hemorrhagic stroke is less prevalent than an ischemic stroke although it can tend to be more serious. This type of stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel in your brain leaks or when it balloons up and bursts. Taking too much blood thinner drugs and uncontrolled high blood pressure can also cause this kind of stroke.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Some few individuals experience this kind of stroke usually referred to as a “mini-stroke” which happens due to temporary blockage. Although TIA doesn’t cause permanent brain damage, it increases your chances of getting a full-scale stroke
Top Causes of Stroke
The following things can put you at risk of getting stroke;
Tobacco – Whether you’re chewing or smoking tobacco, you raise your chances of getting a stroke. Nicotine is likely to increase your blood pressure and cigarette smoke (even secondhand) makes fat build up in the main artery of your neck. Other than that, it thickens your blood thus making it more likely to clot.
Diabetes – Most people with diabetes are overweight and have high blood pressure and both these are risk factors for stroke. You’re also more likely to have a stroke when you have diabetes since diabetes destroys your blood vessels. The injury to your brain is also likely to be severe if you get a stroke when your blood sugar levels are high.
High Blood Pressure – Also known as hypertension, this is the most common cause of strokes. You may need to consult your doctor if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
Heart disease – Atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat and defective heart valves increase your odds of getting a stroke. In fact, irregular heartbeat is responsible for causing 25 percent of strokes among the elderly. Fatty deposits can also lead to clogged arteries.
Family – Strokes can be hereditary. Your family could be sharing a tendency to get diabetes or high blood pressure. As a matter of fact, some strokes occur due to a genetic disorder blocking blood flow to the brain.
Age – Anyone can get a stroke and that includes babies in the womb. However, your odds increase as you grow older. After you pass the age of 55, your chances double up every 10 years.
Gender – Men are more likely to have a stroke than women of the same age. But at a later age, women are less likely to recover and more likely to succumb to stroke.