RVNA Today: Stroke and high blood pressure

Strokes are a leading cause of death and severe long-term disability, and many people who suffer a stroke also have high blood pressure, known as hypertension. High blood pressure damages arteries and creates conditions where they can burst or clog more easily. Weakened arteries in the brain put you at higher risk for stroke. The more common ischemic stroke occurs when a narrowed or clogged blood vessel in the brain cuts off blood flow to brain cells. Hemorrhagic strokes, which occur less frequently, result when a blood vessel ruptures in or near the brain. Mini strokes, or TIAs (transient ischemic attacks), are caused by temporary clots and are a serious warning sign. High blood pressure impacts about one in three adult Americans. Nearly 20% aren’t aware they have it, so it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or less. High blood pressure is often called the silent killer since there are often no obvious symptoms, but it can lead to stroke and other serious problems, such as heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, and sexual dysfunction. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, proper treatment and management are important. With effective lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and medication, if appropriate, the condition can be managed and risks can be lowered.