Medical Conditions That Can Lead to Stroke
When the atria quiver instead of contracting normally, more blood often gets left behind instead of being pumped into the ventricles. When blood pools like this inside the atria, it can trigger the formation of unwanted clots. These clots can break off, travel throughout your blood vessels, and then become stuck -- decreasing the amount of blood that flows through the vessel.
People who have atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke than people who have a normal heart rhythm. About 15 percent of stroke patients have atrial fibrillation before they experience a stroke. The treatment a healthcare provider recommends for atrial fibrillation will depend on the severity of the condition. If you have this condition, talk to your healthcare provider about atrial fibrillation treatment options.
Besides atrial fibrillation, other common heart disorders can result in blood clots that may break loose and block vessels in or leading to the brain. These common heart disorders can include:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD), which most people refer to as simply heart disease
- Heart valve defects, such as mitral valve stenosis
- Irregular heart rhythms (other than atrial fibrillation)
- Congestive heart failure.
Your doctor will treat your heart disease and may also prescribe medication, such as aspirin, to help prevent the formation of clots.
Diabetes affects the body's ability to use sugar, or glucose, and it also causes destructive changes in the blood vessels throughout the body, including the brain. People with diabetes have three times the risk of stroke compared to people without diabetes. If blood glucose levels are high at the time of a stroke, then brain damage is usually more severe and extensive than when blood glucose is well controlled. Treating diabetes can delay the onset of complications that will increase the risk of stroke.