Stroke in relation to hypertension and atrial fibrillation

Published: July 25, 2022

Hypertension is the main risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Hypertensive heart disease refers to heart problems caused by high blood pressure.

Stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die.

About three-quarters of people who have their first stroke have high blood pressure. Irregular atrial heart rhythm — a condition called atrial fibrillation — occurs in about one out of five strokes. (2)

Over 13 million people will have a stroke each year and around 5.5 million people will die as a result. (1)

High blood pressure is generally considered the most common controllable risk factor for stroke, but atrial fibrillation is the most powerful, said Ralph L. Sacco, MD, professor and chairman of neurology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and past president of the American Heart Association. (2)

The two risk factors are also related to each other: High blood pressure is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation. Middle-aged men and women with high blood pressure are at increased risk for atrial fibrillation later in life. “Then it becomes a double whammy, where you have high blood pressure as well as atrial fibrillation increasing your stroke risk,” Dr. Sacco said. (2)

How to reduce stroke risk

Stroke is not inevitable. Prevention or control of high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation can greatly reduce the chance of stroke.

  • Don’t smoke
  • Get regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Monitor your blood pressure keep it at your goal
  • Take your medication as prescribed if you have high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation

For more information, please visit the website below.

Learn about stroke

High Blood Pressure, AFib and Your Risk of Stroke


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