Experiencing a traumatic brain injury could raise your risk of having a stroke in the future, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that people who have experienced a TBI from trauma have a 30 percent higher stroke risk than those who have experienced trauma but who did not have a brain injury — even after taking into account other stroke risk factors such as age, high blood cholesterol and heart disease Dr. Burke found that understanding the link between traumatic brain injury and stroke risk can help scientists understand why some younger adults are affected by strokes “ which may help prevent or treat these strokes in the future. According to Dr. Burke, traumatic brain injury may activate atherosclerotic plaques, which may increase the risk of a stroke.
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The study was based on the examination of 700,000 emergency room patients who were discharged in California between 2005 and 2009 and who suffered a trauma but no brain injury. In addition, 400,000 emergency room patients who had sustained a brain injury were examined. The average age of all these patients was 50. According to Dr. Burke, about 28 months after the initial emergency room treatment, about 1.1 percent of the patients had suffered an ischemic stroke. Among those patients who suffered a trauma but did not sustain a head injury, only 0.9% suffered an ischemic stroke within 28 months after their initial injury. Since the overall risk of stroke for people in this age group is very small, the 1.1% of people who suffered a stroke after a head injury may be significant. Researchers concluded that accounting for obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other stroke risk factors, those with traumatic brain injury were 30% more likely to suffer from a stroke when compared with patients who had trauma but did not sustain any injuries to the brain.
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