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June 2004 Issue

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Treatment for High Blood Pressure Reduces Bleeding Strokes

Published June 2004

About a quarter of highly dangerous bleeding strokes would be prevented if people with high blood pressure received treatment, according to a Medical Center study.

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.

African-Americans especially were at a higher risk of having untreated hypertension. However, if patients had medical insurance there was no difference in the rate of untreated hypertension, suggesting that access to health care 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.

Dr. Woo is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology.

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

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