Close to one million Americans die of heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular conditions every year. Leading risk factors for such complications are high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, and minimal physical activity. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, it is critical to understand the condition and recognize that it can lead to serious health problems. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, the local heart disease specialists of AMS Cardiology share how heart disease can lead to a stroke.
What Can Cause a Stroke?
A stroke is a serious medical condition and is often characterized by an interrupted supply of blood to the brain. There are two types of strokes; ischemic and hemorrhagic. Each occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. An ischemic stroke is similar to a heart attack, except it happens in the blood vessels of the brain. Around 80% of all strokes are ischemic. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
Types of Cardiovascular Disease Associated with Stroke
Heart disease and stroke are both types of cardiovascular disease. The cardiovascular system, also known as the blood circulatory system, contains the heart, blood vessels, and blood which is pumped and circulated throughout the body. While age and genetics play a significant role in the condition of your cardiovascular system, many other factors play a part, including diet, physical activity, blood pressure, healthy weight, and more. The connection between heart disease and stroke risk is based on the heart’s role in supplying adequate blood flow to the brain. There are several different types of heart disease associated with stroke, including:
- Heart Rhythm Irregularities (Arrhythmia) – Cardiac arrhythmia occurs when electrical impulses in the heart do not work correctly. A healthy heart can maintain a regular, steady heartbeat, reliably pumping blood throughout your body. When your heart pumps irregularly, it could cause a stroke because the blood is not flowing as evenly. The most common type of arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation or Afib.
- Heart Failure – A weak heart that is not functioning efficiently is typically referred to as heart failure or congestive heart failure. Individuals who suffer from heart failure are two to three times more likely to experience a stroke than those who don’t have this condition.
- Heart Valve Disease – Your heart valves are tiny structures located in the chamber of your heart that prevent the backward flow of blood. Heart valve defects are characterized by abnormal heart sounds and can cost a host of problems like blood clots, blocked blood vessels, infections, and stroke.
- Heart Attacks – A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle. Depending on which part of your heart was damaged, it can cause arrhythmia, which often leads to a lack of blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke.
- Heart Infections and Inflammation – Heart infections or inflammation are relatively uncommon but can increase the risk of stroke.
How AMS Can Help You Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
If you are worried about the risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke, contact the specialists at AMS Cardiology today. Our team of top cardiologists can help answer all your questions, like “What can cause a stroke?” and provide expert care and treatment plans so you always feel your best. Call us at 215-517-1000 to schedule an appointment.