Pre-stroke risk factors may indicate future strokes, dementia
When patients have heart disease risk factors before their first strokes, chances of having future strokes and dementia problems may be significantly higher.
Research from the AHA suggests that maintaining good heart health is important for preventing strokes and dementia throughout one's lifespan.
“We already know that stroke patients have an increased risk of recurrent stroke and dementia,” Dr. Arfan Ikram, senior study author, said. “What we didn’t know was whether this increased risk persists for a long time after stroke and whether heart disease risk factors present before the first stroke influenced the risk of recurrent strokes or dementia. Our study found these risk factors influence future stroke and dementia and the risks persist for an extended period in some patients.”
The study group included 1,237 volunteers who had survived strokes. Their results were compared to a group of 5,000 participants who hadn’t experienced strokes yet.
“This study suggests that risk factors that lead to the initial stroke may also predispose patients to worsening mental and physical health after stroke,” Ikram said. “This also applies to risk of death after stroke. We found in a previous study that 27 percent of all deaths after stroke can be attributed to risk factors already present before stroke.”