HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE & THE RISK OF A STROKE
STROKE STATISTICS WORLD WIDE. In 2016 around 37 million people suffered a stroke, of which 3.9 Million People Died. Sadly, a Stroke kills someone globally every seven & a half minutes. Of the 33 Million who survived, most were left with some form of disability.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is extremely dangerous, there are around 1.3 Billion people in the world that have high blood pressure, this condition is linked to heart disease and stroke, which together are the leading cause of death worldwide, these conditions kill more people than all types of cancer put together.
WORLDWIDE someone has a Stroke every 1.2 seconds, blood pressure and associated heart conditions can be a major cause of a Stroke, plaque caused by deposits within your arteries can dislodge and block the blood supply to parts of the brain, the severity of the Stroke is determined by damage to the brain and in turn your limbs. That's the bad news, the good news is that a healthy lifestyle can possibly reduce your chance of a Stroke, more about how is explained in the section Life2Moro .
WHAT IS A STROKE? Should the blood supply to your brain stop due to a blockage, be reduced or interrupted for any period of time, any changes to the flow of blood through the arteries which carry oxygen and other nutrients can cause the brain cells to die which causes a stroke.
A stroke can be caused by a blockage, a reduction or interruption to the blood supply for any period of time is called an “Ischemic Stroke” The most common condition causing this type of stroke is a cardiovascular disease in the arteries called, atherosclerosis. The arteries that carry the oxygen rich blood to the brain also carry the same blood to organs and other parts of your body.
Arteries can become narrowed when fatty deposits, more commonly referred to as plaque, when, over time they stick to the walls of the artery, this narrowing may reduce blood flow to the brain or if there is a clot in the blood that cannot pass a narrowed artery, can possibly be the cause of a stroke.
A stroke can also be caused by blood leaking from an artery, or by high blood pressure that may have weakened an artery causing the artery to burst, this condition is known as a “Haemorrhagic Stroke” resulting in the accumulating of blood which compresses the surrounding brain tissue.
There are two types of a Haemorrhagic Stroke, one is called a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage, when the burst blood vessel is on the surface of the brain, causing a bleed between the brain and the skull. The second is called a Intracerebral Haemorrhage when blood leaks from a burst blood vessel deep inside the brain.
WHAT IS AN ANEURYSM?
An aneurysm is a weak bulging area in the wall of an artery that can be in the leg, spleen, aorta or the brain. In most cases there are no symptoms to a brain aneurysm, allowing it to go unnoticed, research tells me it’s very rare for this type of aneurysm to burst. Aneurysm’s in the aorta, spleen, and abdominal areas are equally dangerous if they burst, it is said the survival rate is around one in five.
- Aneurysm’s in the chest are known as a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm.
- Aneurysm’s in the stomach area are known as an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
- The medical term for an aneurysm’s in the brain is called an Intracranial or Cerebral Aneurysm.
- There are tests to detect a possible aneurysm, A non-invasive test is called a Computed Tomographic Angiography, patients are injected with a medically safe dye, then a CT Scanner is used to look at the patients’ blood vessels for any possible signs of an aneurysm.
- Another non-invasive test is called a Magnetic Resonance Angiography patient are placed in a Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) which produce detailed images of blood vessels carrying blood around your body. This type of imaging is again non-invasive, producing two and three-dimensional images of the brain, showing any aneurysm, a ballooning of an artery, or any bleeding within the brain.
TREATING AN ANEURYSM is a decision that needs to be made after a Neurosurgeon assesses existing medical conditions and most Important, what is the risk. Many factors come into play, the patients age, how healthy they are, any family history of aneurysm’s and whether there is a risk of an aneurysm rupturing during a procedure, there are more considerations which would be explained to the patient should a surgical treatment be required.
One possible surgical procedure is called Microvascular Clipping which involves the neurosurgeon removing part of the skull called a (Craniotomy) then cutting off the blood supply to an aneurysm, this prevents future rupturing and bleeding.
There is a non-surgical procedure called Endovascular Embolization this involves putting a Catheter into an artery in the groin, threading it through the artery using a procedure called an Angiography, the procedure is quite complex, however, the procedure results in a blood clot which destroys the aneurysm. Should you wish to know more, enter any of these procedures listed above, a search engine will explain more.
PREVENTING AN ANEURYSM is a far better option than a cure! Unfortunately, at this moment in time there is no known way to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing. There are ways people who have a diagnosed brain aneurysm, can reduce the risks, high on the list is to ensure blood pressure is within current guidelines, although blood pressure may not always be the contributing factor to a burst aneurysm, common sense indicates that any pressure in arteries higher than accepted levels could possibly contribute to a burst artery.
See the section (Managing Blood Pressure in the members section).
Lifestyle is another consideration to possibly prevent an aneurysm, smoking and recreational drugs are a big no no. Oral contraceptive may have an impact, talk to your Doctor for advice. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, any exercise program should be discussed with a professional trainer, explain medical conditions, especially an aneurysm, they should be able to put together a program that suits your condition, however, be careful when exercising not to overdo weight lifting or overexertion, I would suggest a chat with your Doctor or Health Professional before you commit to any training program.
A past study indicated that a low dose of aspirin taken daily for the condition Atherosclerosis, also indicated the risk of a Intracranial Aneurysm was reduced. Again, a conversation with your Doctor or Health Professional will get you the correct appropriate advice.
WHAT IS A TIA?
A TIA, which stands for a (Transient Ischemic Attack), sometimes referred to as a mini stroke, occurs when the blood supply to parts of the brain is reduced or blocked by a blood clot for a short time, the flow of blood then returns to the brain and any symptoms go away. A visit to hospital visit should take place, a careful note of any symptoms should be documented as soon as practical, some of the symptoms are listed below:
- Sudden problems walking
- Sudden problems with speech
- Sudden Confusion
- Sudden unusual headache
- Sudden loss of balance
- Sudden problems with vision
- Sudden weakness in arms or legs
- Sudden change to facial muscles
- Sudden lack of strength
- Sudden change to feelings in your limbs
By recognising any of the symptoms above, it is so important to get to a hospital as quick as possible to try and identify the cause of a TIA. Although the symptoms may have passed, it is still important to get checked over, there may have been an underlying cause that needs investigation. If the TIA lasts for a longer period, it could develop into a major stroke.
Stroke Associations around the world use the word FAST to educate people to recognise the different symptoms of a stroke. The actions to the word FAST are shown below.
Face Ask the person to smile, Is the face uneven? Arms Ask them to raise both arms, does one arm drop down? Speech Does their speech sound strange? Ask them a question? Telephone Dial your emergency service without delay, brain cells die by the second.