Stroke Risk Factors: A Growing Threat

Stroke risk factors increased in recent years, despite prevention efforts

(RxWiki News) In spite of stroke-prevention efforts in recent years, stroke risk factors appear to be becoming more common, according to a new study.

Between 2004 and 2014, modifiable stroke risk factors among patients who had a stroke continued to become more prevalent, this study found. In fact, 93 percent of the more than 900,000 study participants had at least one risk factor. That's up from 88 percent in 2004.

"An estimated 80 percent of all first strokes are due to risk factors that can be changed, such as high blood pressure, and many efforts have been made to prevent, screen for and treat these risk factors," said study author Dr. Fadar Oliver Otite, of the University of Miami, in a press release. "Yet we saw a widespread increase in the number of stroke patients with one or more risk factors. These alarming findings support the call for further action to develop more effective methods to prevent and control these risk factors to reduce stroke risk."

During the study period, the rate of high cholesterol increased from 29 percent to 59 percent. The diabetes rate increased from 31 percent to 38 percent. The number of patients with high blood pressure increased from 73 percent to 84 percent.

Other stroke risk factors that appeared to increase during this study included drug abuse, smoking, kidney failure, plaque buildup in the carotid artery and coronary artery disease.

While these findings could certainly be cause for concern, the study authors noted that part of the increases could be attributed to improved screening methods. Still, these researchers called for better detection and screening methods to help prevent strokes in at-risk patients.

The patients in this study had been hospitalized for an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke is marked by the blockage of a blood vessel. This study did not look at patients who had hemorrhagic strokes.

Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your stroke risk.

This study was published in the journal Neurology.

Information on study funding sources was not available at the time of publication. Several study authors disclosed ties to medical and pharmaceutical companies and health organizations.

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Review Date: 
October 13, 2017