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Hypertension and Stroke: What’s the Connection?

Hypertension and Stroke: What’s the Connection?

Your blood pressure is the force of your blood pumping against your artery walls. Since this is High Blood Pressure Education Month, we’d like to discuss the different blood pressure types and the connection to strokes.

Living with high blood pressure, or hypertension, puts you at risk for serious complications, including a stroke. A stroke is a severe medical problem in which blood flow to the brain is blocked. This prevents your brain from getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs from your blood.

When you need expert hypertension treatment, our Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute team is here to help. Dr. Hesham Fakhri is our heart and vascular care specialist, and he’s ready to help you manage your blood pressure.

Understanding hypertension

Hypertension is a serious medical problem that leads to severe complications if you don't treat it.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood on the walls of your arteries as it pumps throughout your body. Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day but should remain between 90/60 and 120/80.

There are differences in opinion on what reading signifies high blood pressure, but both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association say hypertension is a reading of 130/80 or higher.

Unfortunately, you may not know you have high blood pressure because the condition doesn’t usually have symptoms. That's why it's such a dangerous problem. It’s not unusual to learn you have hypertension only after you suffer a stroke or heart attack.

Our team can treat your high blood pressure with lifestyle modifications and medications.

The link between hypertension and strokes

Chronic high blood pressure puts a lot of stress on your arteries and other organs over time. The constant increased force of blood flow through your arteries weakens them over time, making you more susceptible to severe problems, including a stroke.

There are two main types of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. High blood pressure can lead to either type of stroke when it's uncontrolled.

Most strokes (87%) are ischemic. An ischemic stroke happens when the vessels in your brain narrow or clog due to damage from high blood pressure, cutting off blood flow to your brain and leading to a stroke.

Only about 13% of strokes are hemorrhagic strokes, which is when one of the arteries in your brain bursts because chronic high blood pressure weakens it. Hemorrhagic strokes lead to bleeding in your brain and serious long-term consequences.

Decreasing your risk of a stroke

High blood pressure is one of the most significant contributors to a stroke. To lower your risk of a stroke, you must keep your blood pressure under control. Take your medications, manage stress levels, and exercise.

But controlling your blood pressure is only one piece of the puzzle for preventing a stroke. There are other things you need to do as well to ensure you stay healthy, including the following:

If you have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, see Dr. Fakhri for an evaluation and treatment.

Early treatment for these conditions significantly changes your health for the better. Take your medications regularly and live a healthy lifestyle to avoid complications from a stroke in the future.

Call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, to get help for hypertension, or schedule an appointment online today.

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