Atherosclerosis Can Lead to What Kind of Stroke? Find Out Here

    Atherosclerosis Can Lead to What Kind of Stroke? Find Out Here

    As people age, the risk of stroke increases. However, one of the leading causes of strokes that people may not know about is atherosclerosis. What is atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis can lead to what kind of stroke? Read on to find out.

    What Is Atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis can lead to what kind of stroke?

    Normal arteries are elastic and flexible. However, the arteries can harden over time. Arteriosclerosis makes it difficult for the blood to carry nutrients and oxygen from the heart throughout the body. It can reduce blood flow to the tissues and organs.

    Atherosclerosis is a kind of arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is when blood vessels become stiff and thicker due to fats and cholesterol build up in the artery walls. This build up is referred to as plaque.

    Plaque can make arteries narrow and block blood flow. It can also cause a blood clot if the plaque bursts.

    What Are the Symptoms of Atherosclerosis?

    Mild cases of atherosclerosis may not have obvious symptoms. Symptoms often occur when an artery becomes so clogged and narrow so it cannot move blood throughout the body.

    Symptoms of more severe atherosclerosis may include:

    • Chest pressure (called angina) and pain (if the atherosclerosis is in the heart arteries).
    • Decreased blood flow and pain in some limbs (if the atherosclerosis is in the leg and arm arteries).
    • Renal hypertension or high blood pressure within the arteries of the kidneys (if the atherosclerosis is in the arteries that lead to the kidneys).
    • Sudden weakness or numbness in the legs or arms, drooping face muscles, temporary vision loss in one eye, and slurred speech or difficulty speaking (if the atherosclerosis is in the arteries that lead to the brain).

    What Causes Atherosclerosis?

    The disease is slow, and it can rarely happen in children. The exact causes of atherosclerosis are unknown, but it can occur if an artery’s inner layer gets damaged. The damage can be due to:

    • High cholesterol
    • Tobacco products
    • Diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance
    • High triglycerides
    • Inflammation from diseases like lupus, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.
    • High blood pressure

    Atherosclerosis can lead to what kind of stroke? Read on to find out.

    Atherosclerosis Can Lead to What Kind of Stroke?

    Atherosclerosis can cause ischemic strokes, typically because of blood clots. The arteries that lead to the brain narrow because of atherosclerosis or various other particles. This may cause a blood clot.

    The most common kind of stroke atherosclerosis can cause is atherothrombotic stroke. This happens when a blood clot develops on atheroscieotic plaque in a blood vessel in the brain. The clot stops blood flow to that area of the brain.

    Who Is At Risk for Strokes Caused by Atherosclerosis?

    People with the following risk factors have a higher chance of developing atherosclerosis and stroke:

    • Obesity
    • Low physical activity levels
    • Cigarette smoking
    • High cholesterol levels
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure (highest risk for stroke)
    • Diets low in veggies and fruits, high in trans and saturated fats

    How to Prevent Strokes Caused by Atherosclerosis

    Addressing the previously mentioned risk factors can significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and stroke. The following tips could help reduce your risk:

    • Stop smoking
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Consume a balanced and healthy diet
    • Stay physically active
    • Maintain healthy blood pressure levels
    • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels

    How to Treat a Stroke Caused by Atherosclerosis

    Atherosclerosis can lead to what kind of stroke? We know it may lead to ischemic strokes, but how can that be treated?

    One of the most crucial factors for treatment of any stroke is time. It is best if a person having a stroke seeks immediate medical attention. About two million neurons can die every minute a person has a stroke. As a quick guide, remember the mnemonic FAST for stroke warning signs:

    • Facial drooping
    • Arm weakness
    • Speech difficulties
    • Time

    The type of treatment doctors will perform will mostly depend on how long a stroke has been happening. Examples of treatment for ischemic stroke are:

    • Pill medications to prevent embolism and lower blood pressure
    • Intravenously administered medications to save the brain, restore blood flow, and break up any blood clots
    • Stenting intracranially (in the head) and extracranially (outside the head)
    • Anticoagulation and antiplatelet medications
    • Balloon angioplasty
    • Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator to melt the clot that caused the stroke
    • Mechanical thrombectomy to remove clots from the artery

    Key Takeaway

    It is important to learn about how atherosclerosis can occur and how it can lead to a stroke. Atherosclerosis can lead to what kind of stroke? It can lead to ischemic strokes. Being able to recognize the potential causes for strokes can help prevent this serious health issue.

    Learn more about Atherosclerosis here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mia Dacumos, MD

    Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Aug 15, 2022