Hypertension Risk Higher Among Black Stroke Survivors

Stroke patients at greater high blood pressure risk

(RxWiki News) Following a stroke, high blood pressure can put survivors at further risk. A new research study found that black stroke survivors are more likely to experience hypertension within one year.

Strokes caused by a brain hemorrhage, or bleeding, represent a small fraction of all strokes. About 40 percent of stroke survivors die within one month.

Researchers believe hypertension is the risk factor people can better manage.

"Get your blood pressure checked often."

Darin B. Zahuranec, MD, MS, lead author of the study and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, noted that in patients who have already experienced a stroke, blood pressure treatment can lower the risk of a recurrence by up to 50 percent.

Researchers followed 162 stroke patients with an average age of 59. Slightly over half were men and 77 percent of patients were black. The patients were followed for one year after they had a stroke.

Investigators did not find significant racial differences 30 days after an intracranial hemorrhage. However, one year later 63 percent of black patients had high blood pressure compared to 38 percent of white patients. The black patients also were taking more medications for hypertension than white patients.

They also found that certain social factors could play a role in lower blood pressure. Patients who were married or who lived in a facility instead of at home had lower blood pressure.

“Blood pressure is not just about taking medications,” Dr. Zahuranec said.

“Patients can have a very large impact on blood pressure control by making changes to diet and exercise habits, and with weight loss. We need to do more for our patients to help them get their blood pressure under control.”

Researchers have urged additional studies to determine the reasons for the racial disparity.

The research, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, was recently published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

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Review Date: 
August 13, 2012