How to control high blood pressure to prevent stroke

Credit: Unsplash+

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the “silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms but significantly increases the risk of serious health issues, including stroke.

This review explains the connection between high blood pressure and stroke, presenting current research in a manner that is easy to understand for non-scientists.

Understanding High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the walls of the blood vessels. When this pressure is consistently too high, it is known as hypertension.

High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood and contributes to hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which can lead to serious health complications.

High Blood Pressure as a Primary Risk Factor for Stroke: Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.

High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for strokes, particularly ischemic strokes, which happen when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. It is also a key risk factor for hemorrhagic strokes, where a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain.

Research Evidence Linking Hypertension and Stroke: Numerous studies have demonstrated that high blood pressure increases the risk of having a first stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, hypertension leads to more than half of all strokes.

Research indicates that managing blood pressure can reduce the risk of stroke by 40%. The risk of stroke roughly doubles for every 20 points systolic or 10 points diastolic increase in blood pressure above 115/75 mm Hg.

Biological Mechanisms: The mechanisms by which high blood pressure contributes to stroke are multifaceted. High blood pressure can damage the inner lining of the arteries.

Over time, the force of high blood pressure can cause blood vessels to narrow, rupture, or leak. High blood pressure can also lead to blood clots in the arteries leading to the brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.

Preventing Stroke by Managing High Blood Pressure: Effective management of high blood pressure is critical in preventing both first and recurrent strokes. Key strategies include:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial. This involves eating a balanced diet low in salt, fats, and alcohol, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Medication: For many, lifestyle changes alone are not enough to reach blood pressure goals. Blood pressure medications may be necessary. Several types of medications are available, and often two or more are used together.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular visits to the doctor for blood pressure checks are important. Home monitoring can also be a useful way of keeping tabs on blood pressure.

Conclusion: High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for stroke, but it is also one of the most controllable. To reduce your risk of stroke, it’s essential to know your blood pressure numbers and understand how they compare to recommended levels.

Effective management of high blood pressure, through lifestyle changes and medication if necessary, is key to reducing stroke risk and can lead to significant long-term health benefits.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies that black licorice could cause dangerous high blood pressure, and this common plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about how coffee influence your risk of high blood pressure, and results showing this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.