A rise in cholesterol levels can not only cause heart disease but also increase the chance of suffering a stroke. Cholesterol is a vital fatty acid that plays a role in the body’s metabolism and hormone production. There are different sub-parts of cholesterol. There’s cholesterol called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) Triglycerides, which are bad cholesterol, and HDL (High-density lipoprotein), which is good cholesterol. However, when their levels rise (especially cholesterol that is not HDL), this can lead to cardiac attacks or strokes.
Dr Sanjay Bhat, senior consultant of Interventional Cardiology, Aster CMI hospital in Bangalore Dr. Sanjay Bhat, senior consultant at Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, believes bad cholesterol may cause the thickening of arteries as a result of the buildup of plaque. This process is known as atherosclerosis. It may result in a stroke if it begins to affect cerebral blood circulation.
A stroke is a nervous system condition caused by a defect in the blood supply to the brain. There are two kinds of strokes – hemorrhagic stroke as well as ischemic stroke. Doctor. Rohit Pai, consultant neurologist at KMC Hospital, Mangalore, says 85 percent of strokes are ischemic. Fifteen percent of it is hemorrhagic strokes or brain hemorrhage.
The causes of strokes
Dr. Pai discusses hemorrhagic stroke, or brain hemorrhage, usually due to inadequate blood pressure, which causes blood vessels to expand and cause blood loss within the brain. “Ischemic stroke is caused by obstruction in blood vessels that deliver cerebral blood. It’s caused by atherothrombosis (clot formation in arteries as a consequence due to atherosclerosis) or an embolic stroke in which there is a formation of a clot in the heart, and it expands across the brain. This can occur due to different reasons, including the valvular coronary disease, prosthetic walls, or atrial fibrillation ( irregular heart rate) that can lead to for the formation of clots within the heart, and later spreads across the brain.” the doctor says.
The risk factors that are most commonly associated with stroke are:
- Old age
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cholesterol levels are elevated.
Cholesterol is associated with stroke risks.
In the ideal scenario for optimal results, it is recommended that Dr Bhat suggests that the LDL-HDL and the total cholesterol to HDL ratio should be lower than 5. “The LDL levels should be less than 100 mg/dL and less than 50 mg/dL for those with a history of stroke,” Dr Bhat says.
Dr. Pai states that the risk of having a stroke because of high cholesterol is directly proportional to heart events. “If there is high cholesterol, there is predisposition to atherothrombosis, leading to thickening of the blood vessels and then stroke,” Dr. Pai states.
The causes of high cholesterol
Dr. Bhat believes that the reason for excessive cholesterol may be multifactorial. “It could be a genetic cause or familial hyperlipidemia, where people are high in LDL or triglycerides. These elements play an important role in the process of hardening the arteries.” he adds.
The doctor says there aren’t indicators or signs of elevated cholesterol until it causes atherosclerosis.
Can lowering cholesterol help prevent stroke?
A reduction in cholesterol could help lower the chance of suffering from strokes caused by ischemic. Alongside lifestyle changes, experts may also suggest medication to reduce cholesterol levels.
Dr. Pai suggests that someone with an experience of previous strokes or heart conditions with an LDL cholesterol greater than 100 mg/dL is prescribed medication to lower the chance of having a stroke. “If someone has suffered from an stroke with ischemic origin or TIA (Transient ischemic Attack) without any known coronary artery disease or other major heart disease, it is recommended to maintain LDL cholesterol below 70 mg/dL in order to lower the risk of serious cerebrovascular or cardiovascular events. Triglyceride levels that are high should be taken into consideration. Patients with a histories of stroke or fasting triglycerides between 135 and 499 mg/dL, or LDL levels of 41-100 mg/dL will be given a greater doses of medicine,” Dr. Xin says, adding that it’s essential to consider the complete history of health not just the event of stroke.
Dr. Pai states that within 4 or 4.5 hours after a stroke, Revascularization procedures, also known as thrombolysis and thrombectomy, are performed to reduce the risk of problems. Thrombolysis is an injection that is administered intravenously. Thrombectomy is when the doctor intervenes and eliminates the blood clot that has formed in the vessel. The stroke risk is high in mortality but not morbidity, as opposed to cardiovascular illnesses. “It can cause a person to be in bed, and cause stress to the caregiver. Based on the region that is affected in the brain that is affected, it may also result in problems with vision, memory loss speech disorders, as well as apraxia (unable to complete tasks even though physically able to perform them) such as forgetting to clean teeth or put on clothing,” he says.
Methods to reduce cholesterol levels
Experts suggest the following actions to reduce cholesterol levels and lower the chances of having strokes:
- Regular exercises
- Consume low-fat diet
- Avoid carbs
- Do not eat foods with fried ingredients.
- Beware of trans fats and saturated fats.
- Do not reuse the same oil.
- Beware of alcohol and smoking.
- Are nuts as delicious as walnuts, almonds, and Pistachios?
- Consume foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Doctor’s prescriptions for medicines
- A high cholesterol level can increase the risk of having a stroke.
- It causes clots in the arteries. This could affect blood flow for the brain.
- There aren’t any symptoms of high cholesterol.
- The stroke can lead to memory loss, vision problems, and speech issues. It can also cause bedriddenness based on the area of the brain affected.
- Reducing cholesterol could help lower the chance of having an ischemic stroke. In addition to lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, experts can also suggest medications to reduce cholesterol.