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Stroke secondary to atherosclerosis

  • Definition

    Stroke secondary to atherosclerosis refers to loss of neurologic functions (brain attack), which occurs because of atherosclerosis.


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Stroke secondary to atherosclerosis affects about 2 out of 1,000 people, or approximately 50% of all those who have strokes.

    Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) occurs when sticky, fatty substances called plaque build up in the inner lining of the arteries. The plaque may slowly block or narrow an artery or trigger a clot (thrombus). Clots can lead to stroke. 

    Risks for stroke secondary to atherosclerosis include: 

    • History of high blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Peripheral vascular disease  
    • Smoking
    • Transient ischemic attacks or other cerebrovascular disease  
    • High cholesterol
    • High levels of homocysteine
    • Diabetes  
    • Obesity  
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Kidney disease requiring dialysis