How Do Blood Clots Lead to Stroke?

Blood clots are the cause of the vast majority of strokes. While there are several different factors that can influence your risk of developing a blood clot that could eventually trigger a stroke, long car or plane journeys that people take during the summer can be among the causes. If you or someone you know experiences stroke symptoms, get emergency care right away. Here are the facts you need to know about the link between blood clots and strokes.

Blood Clot Basics

Blood clots are coagulated clumps of blood. They form to stop bleeding when you have an injury, but sometimes, they also occur in the blood vessels where they are not needed. These kinds of clots slow or stop blood flow, starving whatever region of the body that vessel supplies of the oxygen it needs. High cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure increase the risk of blood clots. Patients also have a greater chance of getting a blood clot while they are recovering from surgery. As emergency care physician Natalie Shum, MD, of West Hills Hospital explains in this video , sitting for long periods, such as during a car trip or plane ride, also boosts the risk of blood clots.

Blood Clots and Stroke

Ischemic strokes—those caused by blood clots—account for about 87 percent of strokes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . During an ischemic stroke, a blood clot partially or completely blocks a blood vessel in the brain. This starves the brain of oxygen, causing the stroke. The longer the vessel is blocked, the more brain tissue will die. Getting emergency care to dissolve the clot is crucial to prevent long-term complications.

Blood Clot Prevention

Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet will reduce many blood clot risk factors. During a long trip, make stops to stretch and walk around or walk up and down the plane aisle.

At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care providers and neurology team can provide high-quality stroke care during the critical onset stage and throughout recovery. Call us at (818) 676-4321 for more information about emergency care in West Hills and the rest of our hospital services.

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