What causes a stroke?

There are several kinds of stroke and each may have different causes. Let’s go over some of the causes of stroke.

The first, and most common type of stroke, is known as an ischemic stroke. The cause of ischemic strokes is the clotting of blood flow traveling towards the brain. This blood clot may form inside a small artery used to send blood to your brain, or it may move from other parts of your body and end up in the arterial system that flows to your brain.

Causes of Ischemic Stroke

When blood clots occur, they usually cause other complications that interrupt the regular blood flow around the body. They may be complications like:

  1. Atherosclerosis. This is a condition where the arteries harden. It can occur from diabetes, smoking, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  2. Irregular heart beat or atrial fibrillation.
  3. Complications with your heart valve, such as having a repaired valve, an artificial valve, a disease that affects the heart valve like mitral valve prolapse, or narrowing of the heart valve. This narrowing is known as stenosis.
  4. Disorders related to blood clotting.
  5. Heart failure.
  6. Heart attack.
  7. Vasculitis. This is when your blood vessels become inflamed.
  8. Congenital heart defects, particularly a patent foramen ovale.
  9. Hypotension is also another cause of ischemic strokes. However, this is not a very common cause. When your blood pressure is low, in turn it lowers the amount of blood sent to the brain. This can occur when arteries become diseased or narrowed, a heart attack occurs, large amounts of blood are lost, or extreme infections develop.
  10. When surgeries such as endarterectomy or alternatives like angioplasty treat arteries that are narrowed, clots can break apart. This can cause a stroke.

Causes of Hemorrhagic Stroke

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when bleeding occurs in the brain. This is known as an intra cerebral hemorrhage, or when bleeding occurs just outside of the brain, it is known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This bleeding in the brain may be caused by a longstanding elevated blood pressure. When bleeding occurs just outside the brain, it occurs from elevated blood pressure that is not properly managed, or a ruptured aneurysm.

Hemorrhagic strokes may also occur due to these symptoms, but not as commonly:

  1. Blood vessel inflammation.
  2. Hemophilia or other complications with blood clotting.
  3. Blood vessel damage due to injury in the neck or head.
  4. Treatment with radiation because of neck or brain cancer.

Early detection is vital in preventing or decreasing the severity of a stroke. Minutes in seeking treatment literally mean the difference between life and death. Also, the ability to walk, talk, and function with little to no residuals is dependent on how quickly medical intervention is obtained.



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