A range of factors can increase someone’s risk of experiencing a stroke. High blood pressure (HBP) is a significant risk factor for stroke.
In the United States, stroke is a
Studies show that
This article discusses how HBP contributes to stroke, how to prevent stroke, how to manage HBP, and when to seek medical attention.
A doctor may diagnose a person with stage 1 HBP if their systolic or upper number consistently measures between
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the ideal blood pressure level is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic.
The damage HBP causes
Therefore, a person with weakened or narrow blood vessels due to untreated HBP has a much higher risk of experiencing a stroke.
A person cannot adjust
- Eating a nutritious diet: This should include plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
- Exercising regularly: A person should aim to do at least
150 minutesof moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week to help maintain a moderate weight and reduce the likelihood of developing serious health conditions.
- Stopping smoking: If a person smokes, they have a much greater risk of stroke. A doctor can help someone quit smoking.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol use can lead to health problems that increase the risk of stroke. A healthcare professional can help a person manage their alcohol intake.
- Managing blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cholesterol levels: A person can speak with a doctor to monitor and treat existing health conditions such as HBP.
- maintaining a moderate weight
- exercising regularly
- eating a balanced diet
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- limiting alcohol intake
- getting enough sleep
- managing stress levels
The sections below discuss when a person needs to seek emergency medical attention for stroke and HBP.
A stroke is a medical emergency, so individuals need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Quickly acting can save a life or
There are signs and symptoms of a stroke that someone can look out for. They should call 911 immediately if they or another person have any of the following sudden symptoms:
- weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- vision problems in one or both eyes
- dizziness, loss of balance, lack of coordination, or trouble walking
- severe headache with no known cause
If a person suspects they or another individual are having a stroke, they can look for the “FAST” signs of stroke:
- Face: Can the person smile? Does their mouth, eyes, or one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Can the person raise both arms? Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: Can the individual repeat a simple phrase? Is their speech slurred or unusual?
- Time: A person should call 911 right away if they see or experience any one of these signs.
Individuals can help healthcare professionals by making a note of the time that symptoms started.
High blood pressure
A person may be experiencing a hypertensive crisis if they have a sudden rise in blood pressure with readings of
In some cases, a hypertensive crisis may lead to a stroke or adverse cardiac events, such as a heart attack, within a year.
A hypertensive crisis may occur with or without any of the following symptoms:
A person needs to call 911 right away if they experience any signs or symptoms of a hypertensive crisis. This condition can lead to various health problems, including stroke and heart attack.
HBP is one of the leading causes of stroke, a leading cause of death in the U.S.
People may reduce the likelihood of having a stroke and manage HBP by making certain lifestyle choices. A person can monitor their blood pressure by taking regular blood pressure readings. A healthcare professional can also help someone take their first blood pressure reading and teach them what to look for.
If someone experiences the signs and symptoms of a stroke or a hypertensive crisis or recognizes them in someone else, they should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.