Stroke & Hypertension
There are many risk factors that can lead to a stroke but the one risk factor that is the greatest is hypertension. Considering a stroke is life threatening it is important that a person with hypertension take the steps to monitor their blood pressure closely. Strokes are the third largest causes of death within the United States, as well as being the leading cause of disabilities in the United States. Besides strokes, hypertension can cause kidney damage, heart attacks, and heart disease.
People that have hypertension, high blood pressure, are 4-6 times more likely to suffer from a stroke than people who do not have hypertension. It is also the case that 40%-90% of people who have had strokes also had a history of high blood pressure. Hypertension is seen in about 25% of adults in the United States. It is important to take the steps to avoid or treat hypertension. By doing this you can reduce the chances of having a stroke or other hypertension related health issues. A stroke can happen when the blood flow of a certain area of the brain is cut off.
Because of this, the brain cells that do not have oxygen and glucose start to die. Hypertension can lead to the hardening of arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can then lead to blockage and weakening of arteries causing the arteries to enlarge and burst. How high the blood pressure is, is directly related to having a stroke. This is why hypertension is dangerous.
The two types of strokes are Ischemic strokes and Hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes are much like a heart attack but happen in the brain. Clots form in the blood vessels in the body and travel to the brain causing a stroke. A Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel located in the brain either breaks or ruptures completely, causing blood to leak into the brain tissue. Some of the symptoms of a stroke are
- weakness in various body parts
- blurred vision
- dizziness with headaches
- nausea and vomiting
- having difficulty swallowing
- loss of consciousness for a brief time
- difficulty speaking and understanding
- sudden confusion.
If any of these symptoms happen a person should immediately seek medical attention. There is no cure for hypertension but there are steps to take in order to maintain it. There are some medications available such as beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and alpha-blockers. One of the main ways to treat hypertension is to follow a healthy lifestyle. Having a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and low dairy products should be followed. Exercising for 30 minutes a day, such as riding a bike or taking a brisk walk, is a good exercise regimen to follow.
The excess consumption of alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. Smoking is also a leading cause of high blood pressure so any person that suffers from hypertension should avoid smoking. Strokes are very serious as they can cause death and permanent disability. Hypertension is a leading cause of strokes. Because of this a person should monitor their blood pressure regularly and follow a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain their hypertension, which will lessen the chance of having a stroke.