Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes a stroke?"
I'm 19 years old and both my father and my grandfather suffered strokes in their life. the stroke that my grandfather had ended up killing him. I don't want to end up the same way. What steps can I take to make sure that I don't have a stroke too? What causes a stroke in the first place?
Strokes are medically known as cerebrovascular accidents or CVAs. There are actually different types of strokes -- some of which are preventable and some of which are not. I would recommend that you have a thorough discussion with your primary care doctor. This can help identify risk factors that you have and potentially modify them given your young age. The most common type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke --- which is caused by a blockage of a blood vessel that feeds the brain. As such, blood cannot get to the brain cells (called neurons) and they die. There are actually different causes of blockages -- but the most common cause is known as an atherosclerotic blockage. In this instance, the blood vessels that feed the brain over time become blocked by fat (cholesterol) and damaged. There are many causes of damage to the blood vessels that can be managed. So what causes damage to the blood vessels and fat accumulation? Smoking, obesity and a poor diet are the major causes. High cholesterol and lack of exercise are also common. I would strongly recommend you discuss this further with your doctor. If these risk factors are addressed now, you can prevent longterm damage and eventual strokes. Please talk to your doctor for more information. Good luck!
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