A stroke is an extremely serious health problem that happens when the blood can no longer flow to the brain as it should. As the cells in the brain become deprived of the vital glucose and oxygen that they need, they begin to die. As a result, if you don’t know the signs of a stroke and fail to get treatment as soon as possible, permanent damage, or even death, may occur.

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Keep reading to learn more about stroke causes and symptoms so you can take steps to reduce your risk and strike stroke off your list of concerns.

What Are the Causes of Stroke?

In order to comprehend the causes of stroke, you need to have an understanding of the two types of stroke.

First, there is an ischemic stroke, which is somewhat like a heart attack. Roughly 80% of strokes are this type, and it may develop when there is an excess of plaque in the blood vessels. This stroke is the result of clots forming within the blood vessels in the brain, or within the blood vessels that lead to the brain. Clots can also develop within blood vessels in other areas of the body, but the clots end up travelling to the brain. No matter what, the clots are capable of blocking vital blood flow to the cells of the brain, and then this stroke happens.

The other type of stroke is referred to as a haemorrhagic stroke. This happens when a blood vessel in the brain ends up rupturing or breaking. Blood seeps into the tissues of the brain, leading to damaged brain cells. Common causes for this type of stroke include a brain aneurysm (thinning or weakening of blood vessel wall) and high blood pressure.

Are You at Risk?

There are both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for stroke. Uncontrollable risk factors include being over 65 years of age and having a family history of stroke. If you’re an African-American, your risk is greater, and if you’re a man, you’re at risk of having a greater number of strokes. If you’re a woman, however, you’re at risk of having a deadlier stroke.

Things that you can control include your blood pressure and cholesterol. Controlling your diabetes is also beneficial. Quitting smoking, losing weight, and reducing your intake of alcohol can even help reduce your risk of stroke. And talk to your doctor about conditions, such as atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease, so that you can receive treatments to reduce your stroke risk.

What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

Symptoms include:

  • Having difficulty speaking, or having trouble understanding others
  • Having trouble with vision in one or both eyes
  • Having trouble walking
  • A headache that is severe and sudden and that may also be accompanied by altered consciousness, dizziness, or vomiting
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the arm, leg, or face that comes about suddenly, often only on one side of the body

Knowing the symptoms of a stroke is important, as it will allow you to recognise a stroke, not only in yourself but also in others. The more quickly you can get medical treatment if a stroke occurs, the better, as this is a medical emergency that can cause lasting damage.