General Practice 2022

10 main causes of stroke (and how to avoid it)

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10 main causes of stroke (and how to avoid it)
10 main causes of stroke (and how to avoid it)

A stroke, also known as a stroke or stroke, is the interruption of blood flow to some region of the brain, and this can have several reasons, such as accumulation of fatty plaques or formation of a clot, that give rise to ischemic stroke, or bleeding from high blood pressure and even rupture of an aneurysm, giving rise to hemorrhagic stroke.

When this situation happens, the sequelae depend on the severity of the brain injury and the appropriate treatment, being common to have weakness on one side of the body or speech difficulties, for example. Therefore, it is important to focus on rehabilitation therapies to lessen any remaining difficulties. Learn more about the main sequelae and how to treat them.

There are several causes for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, and it is always possible, for each situation, to adopt behaviors or treatments that, if done correctly, can avoid this situation. The main causes are:

Causes of ischemic stroke

Ischemic stroke is caused by the obstruction of a vessel that carries blood to the brain, which most often happens in people over 50 years old, however, it is also possible to happen in young people. This can happen due to:

1. Smoking and poor diet

Lifestyle habits such as smoking, consumption of foods rich in fats, fried foods, s alt, carbohydrates and sugars, increase the risk of developing the accumulation of fatty plaques, also called atherosclerosis, in the blood vessels of the brain and in vessels important for cerebral circulation. When this happens, blood cannot pass through and the cells in the affected region begin to die from lack of oxygen.

How to avoid: adopt a he althier diet, with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean meat, in addition to physical activity at least 3 times a week and not smoke. Check out our tips on habits to avoid diseases such as stroke and heart attack.

2. High blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes

Diseases such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, high triglycerides, obesity or diabetes are the greatest risks for the formation of fatty plaque accumulation, as well as the development of inflammation in blood vessels and heart disease, being important risks for the AVC.

How to avoid: properly control these diseases, with the treatment indicated by the doctor, in addition to adopting he althy lifestyle habits, to reduce their negative effects on the body.

3. Defects in the heart or blood vessels

Changes in the heart, such as the presence of an arrhythmia, dilatation or changes in the functioning of the heart muscle or its valves, as well as the presence of a tumor or calcification, contribute to the formation of clots, which can reach the brain through the bloodstream.

How to avoid: these types of alterations can be detected in routine consultations with the doctor, and, if detected, they will be monitored and, in some cases, can be done the use of medications, such as anticoagulants.

4. Use of illicit drugs

The use of illicit drugs, especially by injection, such as heroin, for example, favors injury and spasms in blood vessels, which can contribute to the formation of clots and, consequently, stroke.

How to avoid: in these cases, it is recommended to seek help from a specialized drug center so that the detoxification process can be carried out and, thus, contribute to the quality of person's life and reduce the chances of stroke.

5. Other causes

Other less common situations for the occurrence of a stroke, and which should be suspected, especially when it happens in young people, are diseases that cause greater blood clotting, such as lupus, sickle cell anemia or thrombophilia, for example, diseases that inflame the blood vessels, such as vasculitis, or brain spasms, for example, which impede the flow of blood.

Treatment in a stroke situation, regardless of the cause, should be started as soon as possible, in the emergency room, with the use of drugs to help return blood flow, such as ASA, clopidogrel, thrombolysis and control blood pressure and vital data. Find out, in more detail, how stroke treatment is done.

Causes of hemorrhagic stroke

Hemorrhagic stroke happens when there is bleeding inside the brain or in the meninges, which are films that surround the brain. This type of stroke can happen both in the elderly and in young people, and the main causes are:

1. High blood pressure

Very high pressure can rupture any of the vessels in the brain, which is the main cause of hemorrhagic stroke. It usually happens in people who have very high blood pressure spikes, as they do not treat their hypertension.

How to avoid: it is necessary to do a medical follow-up for check-up exams and check if you have high blood pressure and, if confirmed, make an adequate treatment and control of the disease, preventing its effects on the body.

2. Blow to the head

Traumatic brain injury, which can happen in traffic accidents, is an important cause of stroke, as it can cause bleeding in and around the brain, being a very serious and life-threatening situation of the person.

How to avoid: it is important to always be concerned about safety in different situations, such as wearing a seat belt in the car or using personal protective equipment at work, for example.

3. Brain aneurysm

The presence of an aneurysm or other malformations of blood vessels within the brain increases the risk of rupture and hemorrhage, especially as their size increases over time.

How to avoid: this type of alteration is most commonly discovered accidentally, when CT or MRI scans are performed for other causes. However, an aneurysm can be suspected in the presence of symptoms such as frequent and gradually worsening headache, seizures, or weakness and tingling of some part of the body, for example.

4. Use of anticoagulants

Anticoagulant drugs are very important in various diseases, such as arrhythmias, thrombosis or heart valve diseases, for example, however, if used the wrong way, or if the person does not take some care, by increasing the risk of bleeding, including inside the brain.

How to avoid: do regular medical follow-up to control blood clotting and to perform routine exams. Also avoid risk situations for blows, such as falls.

5. Other causes

Other less common causes of hemorrhagic stroke can include diseases that make it difficult for blood to clot, such as hemophilia and thrombocythemia, inflammation of the small brain vessels, called amyloid angiopathy, from degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's, use of illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamine, and brain tumor, which increases the risk of bleeding.

A hemorrhagic stroke should also be treated as soon as possible, in the emergency room, with control of vital data, and, if necessary, with surgery, in order to reduce the risk to life and of sequelae formation.

Is the stroke curable?

Brain stroke has no cure, however, it can be prevented in most cases or, when it happens, it is possible to invest in treatments to improve the condition and rehabilitation to leave fewer sequelae.

Furthermore, it is possible for the body to recover a good part, or completely, from the symptoms and difficulties that arise with a stroke, which also depends on a follow-up with a neurologist, and the accomplishment of a rehabilitation, with:

  • Physiotherapy, which helps to recover the motor part and develop movements;
  • Occupational therapy, which encourages the preparation of strategies to reduce the effects of stroke sequelae in daily life, adaptations of environment and utensils, in addition to activities to improve the reasoning and movements;
  • Physical activity, performed, preferably under the guidance of a physical educator, to strengthen the muscles and help the person's independence, balance and well-being;
  • Nutrition, helps to prepare food in the ideal amount, type and consistency for each person;
  • Fonoaudiologia, is important in cases of difficulty swallowing food or communicating, helping to adapt to these situations.

In this way, even if the sequelae of the CVA do not diminish or recover quickly, it is possible to improve the quality of life of the person who lives with this situation.

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