What causes a stroke?

Stroke CausesStrokes are caused by a blood flow stoppage to the brain. The reasons for the blood flow being interrupted are blood clots and blood vessels becoming weak, hard and narrow.

Narrow arteries are mainly because of fat deposits building up in the artery. This means the blood flow to the brain is restricted. If a fat deposit breaks, a blood clot will form where the fat breaks off. This is what causes blood clots and once the clot is big enough to fill and block the artery, this stops the blood flow to the brain.

Ischemic strokes happen when the blood flow is blocked due to a blood clot in the brain or leading to the brain. Normally blood clots appear in arteries which are narrow (atherosclerosis) or have a fat deposit blockage.

Hemorrhagic strokes appear when a blood vessel bursts in to the brain which is called an intracerebral hemorrhage. A low amount of people experience bleeding between the brain and skull which is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Stroke Risk Factors

A person who has existing conditions such as heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and who have also had a mini stroke will be at a higher risk of getting a stroke. Alongside existing conditions, genetics and lifestyle also play a big part in the causes of stroke.

The genetic risks associated with having a stroke are:

• If you’re in the age group 65 years or older
• Women have a stronger risk of stroke than men
• If a family member has had a stroke your chance is greatened
• Caribbean, African and Asian population have a higher risk of stroke

The lifestyle risks associated with having a stroke are:

• If your overweight this can increase your risk of getting conditions associated with stroke
• Having a poor diet which are high in saturated fats and salt
• Smoking can damage your arteries which causes blood pressure to rise
• Not doing regular exercise of any sort will put pressure on heart and circulation
• Drinking alcohol excessively increases the risk