The human body is a complex amalgamation of organs and organ systems connected by blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and nerves.
Each system works in harmony with the other, and in case of any problem in any function, the rest of the whole body experiences side effects.
The heart is the body’s most vital organ as it is independent of all other organs, but all other organs, including the brain, depending on its blood supply.
Undoubtedly, the brain is the second-most important organ as the smooth functioning of all the other organs depends on the nerve impulses from the brain. Both these organs work hand-in-hand to keep our bodies running.
As we age, our organs become old with us. However, all the parts of our body can’t grow new cells; these parts include the heart and the brain.
Medical News Today gives details of the recent research which indicates height loss as a risk factor for stroke.
Cardiovascular Diseases—Types, Risk Factors
A group of diseases that affect the heart and the blood vessels of the body are cardiovascular diseases. These may involve one or more parts of the heart and the blood vessels.
Usually, they are characterized by a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries or an increased risk of blood clots. Moreover, it can also be associated with damage to the arteries which supply blood to the other organs.
A few conditions that come under the umbrella of cardiovascular diseases are coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, heart failure, aortic disease, congenital heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, arrhythmia, cerebrovascular disease, and valve disease.
Strokes and myocardial infarction (heart attack) are severe complications of these cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, a few causes of these cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and having a family history of heart diseases.
Furthermore, a few factors that may contribute to increasing the risks are:
- Old age, especially those above 50 years, are at an increased risk of developing CVD.
- Gender, men often develop CVD at an earlier age than women
- Diet and unbalanced, unhealthy diet contributes to increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Alcohol, an increased consumption increases the cholesterol and blood pressure
Stroke—Types and Causes
A stroke occurs when the blood vessel that transports blood to the brain ruptures or gets blocked, impacting the oxygen supply to the brain’s cells.
Without oxygen and the necessary nutrients, brain cells start dying, and the brain experiences an irreparable loss of brain tissues.
There are multiple types of strokes. Moreover, the type of stroke determines the discourse of the treatment that a doctor will take.
The main categories of stroke are transient ischemic stroke, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke. Furthermore, these categories are subdivided into other types of strokes that are:
- Embolic stroke
- Thrombotic stroke
- Intracerebral stroke
- Subarachnoid stroke
Additionally, the causes of stroke also depend on the type of stroke.
The transient ischemic stroke results from a temporary blockage, typically a blood clot, in the artery that takes blood to the brain.
As a result, blood flow to some parts of the brain decreases or stops until blockage moves. Similarly, a blockage occurs in the artery that transports blood to the brain in an ischemic stroke.
This blockage can be a blood clot or a result of atherosclerosis (build-up of a plaque that is fat deposits in the arterial walls).
In a hemorrhagic stroke, the blood vessel bursts or leaks in the brain. This leads to an increase in pressure and damages neurons. The two possible causes of the bursting of a blood vessel are an aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Stroke
There are greater chances of treatment and recovery from a stroke if taken immediately. The symptoms of stroke appearing in the body parts are controlled by the brain’s damaged areas.
A few of these symptoms include:
- Numbness in the face, legs, or arms
- Difficulty in speaking or understanding
- Lack of coordination and balance
- Visual difficulties
A few symptoms of stroke that more commonly occur in women include hallucinations, nausea or vomiting, dyspnea, disorientation, weakness, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
Moreover, in men, a few more commonly occurring symptoms include muscle weakness in one side of the body, drooping on one side of the face, difficulty in speech.
Furthermore, there are a few factors that increase the susceptibility of having a stroke. A few of these include an unhealthy lifestyle, consuming alcohol, eating more saturated or trans fats and salt, and having a sedentary life.
Additionally, family history, old age, and gender are also risk factors that increase stroke risks. Also, health conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, and sickle-cell disease are risk factors for stroke.
Height-loss in Women and Stroke
In an informative read, Medical News Today gives details of a recent study that has found a link between height loss in women as a risk factor for stroke.
Losing height in old age is a normal part of the aging process. Usually, humans maintain their height from their puberty to the early 50s.
Later, as a result of shrinking space between the vertebral discs, spinal compression fracture because of osteoporosis, and the change in posture, we gradually lose height.
According to studies, rapid height loss in both men and women has links to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers advise physical activity to maintain heart health and prevent CVD. Moreover, regular physical activity is also beneficial for slowing the process of height loss.
In the study, scientists observed that women who lost more than 2cm of their height had 2.31 times more chances of dying from a stroke and 2.14 times more chances of dying from any other CVD.
Furthermore, scientists found a link between loss of bone mass and a process called vascular calcification, in which calcium deposits build up in the blood vessels. Additionally, both these processes involve oxidative stress and inflammation.
The relationship between height loss and stroke, however bizarre, is a breakthrough discovery. However, scientists need to overcome their previous limitations and conduct further research.