A stroke is a life-threatening condition where a person’s blood supply to the brain is reduced to the point of damage to brain cells. There are two types of stroke:
Symptoms of a stroke include:
If symptoms last less than 24 hours, the stroke is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke.
Without immediate treatment, the effects of a stroke can be permanent or lead to death.
High blood pressure (hypertension) affects both forms of stroke by putting a strain on blood vessels, including the ones leading to the brain. This causes significant stiffening of the vessels and narrows the pathways for blood to flow, which may cause a blockage, or increased pressure, which in turn may lead to a stroke. In haemorrhagic strokes, that hypertensive strain can cause blood vessels to burst in the brain, leading to bleeding and damage to surrounding brain cells.
According to the Stroke Association, hypertension is the single biggest risk factor for stroke and 50% of all stroke patients have a history of high blood pressure according to a 2020 article in Acute Neurology. But it is also a modifiable risk factor and the most important, meaning it can be managed and treated to reduce the risk.
Besides high blood pressure, there are many risk factors for strokes including:
There are also some risk factors that can’t be controlled such as age, gender, and race but many have crossovers with the causes of hypertension so there are similar ways to prevent and treat strokes.
As mentioned above, there are some stroke risk factors that can’t be controlled but for hypertension, you can make small changes in your lifestyle to drastically reduce the risk of strokes including:
Always speak to a qualified medical professional before undertaking any significant changes to your diet or physical exercise.
Read more: How to Lower Blood Pressure
There are different forms of treatment for both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Some of these primarily reduce high blood pressure which, in turn, reduces the risk of a stroke.
Due to the nature of haemorrhagic strokes, treatments can run the spectrum of supportive care, to catheter-based interventions, or surgery.
As high blood pressure is the most likely cause of a stroke, it’s crucial to keep BP levels as close to normal range as possible. We recommend regular blood pressure monitoring as a simple but effective way to help and Aktiia makes this a breeze. Aktiia’s BP monitor is easy to wear, gives important insights into your heart health 24/7, and provides a summary you can share with your doctor.