If you have a high cholesterol and narrowed or hardened heart or upper chest and neck — and travels up through your bloodstream until it blocks the blood flow to your brain. This is a “cerebral embolism.”
Sometimes, a clot dissolves or dislodges on its own. This is a aneurysm — a thinned or weakened spot on an artery that has ballooned from pressure — bursts. Other times, the artery wall grows brittle over time from fatty plaque and then breaks open.
How to Lower Your Risk
Strokes can happen at any age, even to babies in the womb. Still, the odds of a stroke climb quickly after middle age.
To cut your odds of having a stroke:
Keep your blood pressure healthy. If you have (consistently over 130/80), this is the single biggest thing you can do to lower your odds of a stroke.
Avoid tobacco.Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco — even — cause physical changes in your body. They can thicken your blood and make it more likely to clot and cause fatty buildup in your arteries.
Control your cholesterol levels. High levels of , or “>cholesterol, make it more likely that plaque will build up in your arteries, putting you at greater risk of a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
Manage diabetes, if you have it. If it’s not under control, it can lead to a stroke by damaging your blood vessels.
Check your weight and waist. Your doctor can let you know if these numbers are in a healthy range. If you have a belly that’s bigger than 40 inches around for men or more than 35 inches for women, that may be especially risky.