Health

1 in 5 People Who Have a Stroke Go On to Develop Dementia

When a person has a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted, and as a result cells die or are damaged — which in many cases can go on to cause dementia. In a scientific statement last year from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, scientists estimated that more than half of survivors experience memory and thinking problems in the year that follows, and as many as 1 in 3 will be diagnosed with dementia within five years.

Preliminary research to be presented next week at the International Stroke Conference in Phoenix further supports evidence showing that stroke significantly raises dementia risk.

The study, involving about 180,000 people who suffered a stroke, found that the likelihood of developing dementia was 80 percent greater for people with stroke compared with a matched group from the general population. The risk remained that high even after accounting for other health factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

“Our results confirm the uniquely high risk of dementia after stroke,” says lead study author Raed Joundi, MD, an assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and an investigator at the Population Health Research Institute, a joint institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. “The study raises the importance of dementia as a common complication after stroke and that we need to find ways to lower the risk of dementia in this population.”

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