f you had heart disease risk factors, such as
high blood pressure, before your first stroke,
your risk of suffering subsequent strokes and
dementia may be higher up to five years later,
according to new research in the American
Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
“We already know that stroke patients have an
increased risk of recurrent stroke and dementia.
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,”
said M. Arfan Ikram, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author
and associate professor, department of epidemiology,
neurology and radiology, Erasmus University Medical
Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “Our study
found these risk factors influence future stroke and
dementia and the risks persist for an extended period
in some patients.”
Researchers studied a group of 1,237 stroke
survivors from an existing long-term study and
compared them to a stroke-free group of about 5,000
people from the same study.
• One year after having a stroke, survivors retain a
high risk of a recurrent stroke or dementia for at
least five years.
• Stroke survivors were nearly twice as likely to
have dementia as those who had not suffered
• Among the survivors, 39 percent of recurrent
strokes and 10 percent of post-stroke dementia
cases were attributed to pre-stroke cardiovascular
risk factors, including high blood pressure,
diabetes, low levels of high-density lipoprotein
(HDL — the good cholesterol), smoking, and
transient ischemic attack (TIA).
“This study suggests that risk factors that lead to the
initial stroke may also predispose patients to worsening
mental and physical health after stroke. 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,” Ikram said.
Taking good care of your cardiovascular risk factors
— even if you have never experienced a stroke — is
not only important to prevent the first stroke, but it
can go a long way to prevent a second stroke and
dementia, he added.
Source: American Heart Association News
Pre-stroke risk factors influence long-term future stroke, dementia risk