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What are the lesser known causes of stroke?



Risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol, are well-known, but what about those factors less known? Here, SR Times discusses some of those lesser-known stroke causing conditions.

Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD)

Fibromuscular dysplasia is a rare condition in which the walls of the arteries become thickened and narrowed, which leads to reduced blood flow to the organs they supply. 

FMD can affect any artery in the body, however,  it most commonly affects the renal (kidney) arteries and the carotid (neck) arteries that supply blood to the brain. When FMD affects the carotid arteries, it can lead to a stroke.

Arterial dissection

Arterial dissection is a tear in the inner lining of an artery, which can lead to the formation of a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain. Arterial dissection can be caused by trauma, such as a car accident or a sports injury, or it can occur spontaneously. Arterial dissection is known to be more common in younger people.

Patent foramen ovale (PFO)

The foramen ovale is a small hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart that is present in all babies before birth. However, in most instances, the hole closes shortly after birth, but for some, it remains open, known as a patent foramen ovale (PFO). 

PFO is usually harmless, but in some cases, it can allow a blood clot to pass from the right side of the heart to the left side, where it can be pumped to the brain and cause a stroke.


Vasculitis is a group of conditions in which the immune system attacks the blood vessels, leading to inflammation and damage to the vessel walls. 

Vasculitis can affect any organ in the body, including the brain, and can lead to stroke. There are several types of vasculitis, including giant cell arteritis and polyarteritis nodosa.

Moyamoya disease

Moyamoya disease is a rare condition in which the blood vessels at the base of the brain become narrowed or blocked, leading to reduced blood flow to the brain. The narrowed blood vessels can also be prone to ruptures, leading to bleeding in the brain. Moyamoya disease is more common in people of Asian descent and can lead to stroke.