Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the main risk factor for having a stroke. If you can maintain good blood pressure, the risk of suffering a stroke will be greatly reduced. But what causes hypertension in the first place?
Blood pressure is the rate at which your blood pushes against your artery walls. There are two important measurements: the systolic pressure measures the force blood exerts on the blood vessels while your heart pumps. The diastolic reading is the force measured in between heart beats while your heart is resting. For example, a reading of 120/80 is considered about a perfect reading, while 140/90 is the low end of high blood pressure.
If you have hypertension, your heart is forced to work harder to pump your blood. This action can cause damage to vital organs and weaken blood vessels. Most specialists agree that if your readings are consistently above 120/80, you are considered to have high blood pressure/hypertension.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks one of your arteries or blood vessels, so blood flow to your brain is interrupted. If one of these events happens, your brain cells can start dying and you will suffer from a certain degree of brain damage as a result.
If you suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney disease, carry extra weight or have had a heart attack you are in the high risk category for having a stroke, so you should be regularly seeing your doctor to control your blood pressure.
If you do suffer brain damage as a result of a stroke, the abilities that are controlled by those cells will stop working. These abilities include memory, movement and speech. The amount of damage that occurs will affect how much your abilities will be impeded.
If you have an irregular heartbeat, the risk factor is even greater for both hypertension and stroke. Symptoms of this problem include: fainting, weakness, finding it hard to breathe normally and palpitations. It is critical to see your doctor for fast treatment if this happens. The irregular pulse causes what is known as a transient ischemic attack or a mini stroke. If this happens, your risk for a major stroke increases dramatically.
Other causes for hypertension and stroke are: age, gender, stress levels, genetics, race, diet and whether you are a smoker or not. Treatment is designed to keep your levels under 140/90, in order to reduce the risk of having a stroke. Your doctor will suggest you lose weight, reevaluate your diet and exercise regime and probably prescribe medication as well.
Your doctor can guide you through the steps needed to reduce your risk of hypertension and stroke. He may suggest you get a blood pressure monitor, so you can check yourself at home. He may refer you to a dietitian for extra help in that area, and/or a heart specialist if the situation is severe.
If you notice any symptoms that are associated with hypertension or stroke, speak to your doctor immediately. It is much easier to take preventative steps rather than to endure the pain and suffering a stroke can cause.