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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 05/27/04
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Untreated High Blood Pressure Raises Bleeding Stroke Risk

UC Medical Center researchers say about a quarter of highly dangerous bleeding strokes would be prevented if people with high blood pressure would get treatment.

Daniel Woo, MD, and his team studied 549 patients to determine whether those with untreated blood pressure, which is "highly prevalent," face a different risk of bleeding stroke than treated patients.

Although both untreated and treated patients were found to be at significant risk, the researchers determined that blood pressure treatment would have prevented 17 to 28 percent of the bleeding strokes.

Of particular note, African-American were at a higher risk of having untreated hypertension.  Yet, in patients who had medical insurance there was no difference in the rate of untreated hypertension. This suggests that access to healthcare is a significant factor in stroke prevention.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Bleeding occurs in 20 percent of all stroke cases and results in a 40 to 50 percent death rate.

The report appears in the May edition of the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

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