Ischemic strokes are one of the two main types of strokes that occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, leading to damage or death of brain cells. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked, typically by a blood clot or a buildup of fatty deposits called plaques.
There are two main types of ischemic strokes: thrombotic strokes and embolic strokes. Thrombotic strokes occur when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. Embolic strokes occur when a blood clot or other debris travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the brain.
There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of an ischemic stroke. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most significant risk factors for ischemic strokes. It can damage the blood vessels and increase the likelihood of clots forming.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of blood clots forming. People with diabetes are also more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can increase the risk of an ischemic stroke.
- High cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol in the blood can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels, which can lead to blockages and increase the risk of ischemic strokes.
- Smoking: Smoking can damage the blood vessels and increase the likelihood of clots forming.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for ischemic strokes.
- Atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that can cause an irregular heartbeat and increase the risk of blood clots forming.
- Age: The risk of ischemic strokes increases with age, particularly after the age of 55.
- Family history: People with a family history of strokes are more likely to experience a stroke themselves.
- Prior stroke or TIA: A prior history of a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) increases the likelihood of having another stroke.
It’s important to note that while some risk factors for ischemic strokes cannot be controlled, such as age and family history, many others can be managed through lifestyle changes , medical treatment or holistic medicine. By understanding the risk factors and taking steps to address them, individuals can reduce their risk of experiencing an ischemic stroke.