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 July 23, 2003
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Deadly Stroke is Preventable
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CINCINNATI (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A deadly stroke that occurs in young people can be prevented, according to new research. Researchers say high blood pressure medication and lifestyle changes could help prevent the stroke from happening.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) occurs when a blood vessel on the surface of the brain ruptures and bleeds into the space around the brain. Unlike other strokes, SAH usually happens in younger populations and is deadly about 50 percent of the time. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati conducted a study to determine what causes these strokes in young and middle-aged adults.

The study included patients with SAH from 44 hospitals between 1994 and 1999. The 312 patients included in the study were men and women between 18 and 49 years old who had not suffered a previous stroke. Patients answered questions about their lifestyle and other factors that could be related to the development of SAH. Researchers also included data from 618 healthy individuals who had not had a stroke.

Researchers say they identified several risk factors that put patients at risk for a stroke. For example, stroke patients were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure than healthy participants. Lead study author Joseph Broderick, M.D., from the University of Cincinnati, says: "One of the study's key findings is that two-thirds of the people who had a subarachnoid hemorrhage in this age group were current cigarette smokers. That is a huge number. If you're a smoker in this age group, you are 3.7-times more likely to have this type of stroke than if you're not a smoker."

Another factor that plays a role in this type of stroke is familial tendency. People in the study who had SAH were about 3.8-times more likely to have a family member who had a bleeding stroke. Researchers say this finding should give those with a family history of this type of stroke more reason to take care of themselves.

Authors of the study conclude SAH may be a largely preventable disease among young and middle-aged men and women. They say several of the risk factors can be modified by medications or behavioral changes.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers a searchable archive of its medical reports written since 1995. To search, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/search/.

SOURCE: To be published in an upcoming journal of Stroke

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