How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Stroke

Stroke and high blood pressure

Stroke is a leading cause of death and severe, long-term disability. Most people who have had a first stroke also had high blood pressure.

High blood pressure damages arteries throughout the body. It creates conditions that can make arteries burst or clog easily. Weakened or blocked arteries in the brain create a much higher risk for stroke. This is why managing high blood pressure is critical to reducing your risk for stroke.

What happens when you have a stroke

A stroke happens when a blood vessel to the brain is narrowed or blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). When that happens, part of the brain is no longer getting the blood and oxygen it needs. That part of the brain starts to die. Your brain controls your movement and thoughts. A stroke threatens your ability to think, move and function. Strokes also can affect language, memory and vision. Severe strokes may even cause paralysis or death.

Most strokes are ischemic strokes. Watch an interactive animation of an ischemic stroke.

A much smaller percentage of strokes are hemorrhagic strokes that occur when a blood vessel ruptures in or near the brain. View a detailed animation of a hemorrhagic stroke.

A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is usually caused by a temporary clot. These are often called a mini stroke. These warning strokes should be taken seriously. See what happens during a TIA.

Don’t let high blood pressure lead to stroke: