Untreated High Blood Pressure Greatly Raises Risk of 'Bleeding' Stroke

Untreated High Blood Pressure Greatly Raises Risk of 'Bleeding' Stroke

Untreated High Blood Pressure Greatly Raises Risk of 'Bleeding' Stroke

Threat is even greater for minority patients, study found

SOURCE: American Stroke Association, news release, Feb. 18, 2016

THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People with untreated high blood pressure face a much greater risk of a bleeding stroke, but that risk is even higher for blacks and Hispanics, a new study warns.

"The average age for a brain hemorrhage [bleeding stroke] is much younger in minorities, especially in African-Americans, so they may suffer more disability earlier in life than others," study author Dr. Kyle Walsh said in an American Stroke Association news release.

"It's important to be aware of having high blood pressure in the first place, and once diagnosed, to have it treated appropriately," added Walsh, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati.

The study included more than 4,600 white, black and Hispanic Americans who were followed for six years. During that time, half of them suffered a bleeding stroke.

Compared to having normal blood pressure, having untreated high blood pressure increased the risk of a bleeding stroke by 11 times in blacks; 9.8 times in Hispanics; and 9.5 times in whites.

Among bleeding stroke patients with a previous diagnosis of high blood pressure, high blood pressure was more likely to be untreated in Hispanics (48 percent) and blacks (43 percent) than in whites (33 percent).

Less access to medical care may be one reason Hispanics and blacks are more likely to have untreated high blood pressure, the researchers suggested.

Even among people with treated high blood pressure, blacks were 75 percent more likely and Hispanics 50 percent more likely than whites to have a bleeding stroke, according to the study findings. They were to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association, in Los Angeles.

Studies presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary, because they have not undergone the scrutiny given to research in published journals.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about high blood pressure.

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