Most strokes result from a combination of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
Two-thirds of those with a first heart attack and three-quarters of those with a first
stroke have hypertension, commonly defined as a systolic over a diastolic reading
of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain
is disrupted either because an artery is narrowed or blocked with a blood clot or if
a weak or damaged artery ruptures and causes bleeding in the brain, a hemorrhagic
stroke. Stroke can cause the functions of a particular part of the brain to be impaired
or stop altogether. Blood clots formed elsewhere in the body, such as in the heart
during atrial fibrillation, can also travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Smoking is an important risk factor for stroke. Smoking increases the risk of both
heart attack and stroke by two to three times. Studies have shown that, overall,
Black Americans between ages 45 and 64 have two to three times the risk of stroke
compared to white people. Among Black Americans, smoking doubles the risk of
About 2% of all strokes and possibly up to 25% of those in young and middle-aged
people are caused by a dissection (tear) in an artery that may be spontaneous,
caused by falls, participating in sports, yoga moves, or chiropractic manipulations.
The risk of stroke is also increased among people who have migraine headaches,
especially among those who have associated symptoms (called an aura), such as
blurry vision. Substance misuse can also cause strokes, and with the increasing use
of cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana, more strokes are occurring among
young people. Marijuana may accelerate heart rate, increase blood pressure, and
cause agitation, seizures, hallucinations, strokes, and even death. The use of energy,
weight-loss, and a variety of other dietary supplements, some of which contain
substances that mimic amphetamines, are of concern. These products are not beneficial for health
and may cause harmful effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and blood clotting, and
they should be avoided.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel