Types of Stroke and How to Lower Your Risk

Statistics indicate that nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year. Currently, strokes are listed as the fifth leading cause of death in our country. This can sound disturbing. What we want you to know is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Research suggests that approximately 80 percent of the strokes that occur could have been prevented. Here we discuss what a stroke is, the two kinds of strokes, and how you can reduce your risk.

What is a Stroke?

You may recognize a stroke as a brain-related event that causes slurred speech, facial drooping, and other symptoms. The reason these symptoms occur is that a blood vessel in the brain or that supplies the brain with oxygenated blood becomes blocked or bursts. Without blood flow from that vessel, the affected part of the brain suffers the death of brain cells.

The two primary types of stroke are:

  • This type of stroke is significantly concerning. Hemorrhagic strokes are less common, accounting for less than 20 percent of all events. However, this type of stroke accounts for approximately 40 percent of all stroke-related deaths. The underlying cause of hemorrhagic stroke is weakening in a blood vessel that causes a burst. Beneath this, there is often a history of uncontrolled hypertension.
  • Ischemic strokes, which account for approximately 87 percent of all events, occur when a blood vessel becomes blocked. TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a subtype of the ischemic stroke that involves a temporary clot in a blood vessel to the brain.

How to Reduce the Risk of Stroke

Hemorrhagic stroke is related to hypertension, or high blood pressure. Therefore, the first step in reducing risk is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor can suggest diet and lifestyle changes to lower your stats. In some cases, medication is necessary to regulate blood pressure over time. One of the prominent recommendations for lowering the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is to avoid or stop smoking.

Ischemic stroke is triggered by a blood clot that originates either in a blood vessel that supplies the brain (thrombosis) or in another part of the circulatory system (embolism). Thrombosis usually originates in the carotid arteries that are located on the sides of the neck. These arteries can narrow with plaque made up of fat, cholesterol, and calcium. Blood clots that develop elsewhere, such as the heart, often relate to atrial fibrillation. Each of these conditions can be diagnosed and properly treated by a cardiologist.

Schedule Your Consultation

At the very least, a stroke can be life-altering. Understanding the factors that can contribute to stroke risk affords us the opportunity to manage them early and efficiently. The team at Premier Cardiology Associates can help. To schedule a visit with us, call 516-437-5600.

Posted in: Stroke

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