Houston Heart Care Blog | Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates

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Understanding the Link Between High Blood Pressure and Stroke

Posted by Orville Caval at Aug 24, 2020 12:30:00 PM

Every day that your blood pressure is too high, your odds of having a stroke are increased. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). This means a systolic of less than 120 mmHg and diastolic of less than 80 mmHg. A stroke is a loss of brain function caused by a sudden deficit of blood to part of the brain. Stroke is caused by the damage that continuous high blood pressure causes in your blood vessels. If the affected vessel obstructs the supply of blood to the brain, a stroke happens.

How to Check your Blood Pressure

How high blood pressure damages blood vessels

Vessels thicken

Atherosclerosis

When blood puts pressure against vessel walls with too much force, muscles in the wall may lose their ability to stretch. This can cause the walls to thicken, which then narrows the vessel and reduces blood flow.

Clots form

Blood clots

High blood pressure can damage blood vessel walls and create scar tissue. Fat and cholesterol (plaque) can collect in these damaged areas. Blood cells stick to the plaque, which can form a mass called a clot. These clots can block blood flow in the vessels.

Vessels break

blood vessel break

Sometimes blood flows with enough pressure to weaken vessel walls. If the vessel is damaged or small, the wall may break. When this occurs, blood leaks out to nearby tissue and kills cells. Other cells may die because oxygenated blood cannot reach them.

Knowing the Symptoms of Stroke

Blood supply to the brain is suddenly blocked during a stroke. However, recognizing the symptoms and getting medical help fast, better recovery is much more likely. Do not wait. If you have any of these,  Call 911:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body, including a leg or an arm
  • Difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty talking, such as slurred speech
  • Severe headache
  • Problems using or understanding words
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden dizziness or loss of balance
  • Seizures for the first time 
  • Or if any of these symptoms occur and then go away 
Orville Caval
Posted by Orville Caval

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Houston Heart Care Blog covers heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, and related health issues. Not all views expressed in Houston Heart Care Blog stories reflect the official position of Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates.

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