Stroke: 4 risk factors often remain unrecognized

Updated: 06/30/2022 – 13:22

Two thirds of all cases
Researchers identify 4 unrecognized risk factors for stroke

Foto: Getty Images/Justlight

Severe headaches are a major stroke symptom. According to a current study, important risk factors are often not recognized in advance.

Two-thirds of all strokes go undiagnosed beforehand. This was the result of a study from Switzerland.

Sudden severe headaches, speech disorders and paralysis are typical signs of a stroke – around 270,000 people in Germany suffer from this cardiovascular disease every year, which can have serious consequences. A study now shows that important risk factors often go undetected. Four are particularly important.

Stroke: 4 little-known risk factors

Smoking, alcohol, stress and lack of exercise are considered important risk factors for a stroke. A Swiss study that analyzed data from around 4,000 stroke patients from 2003 to 2018 now shows that more than two-thirds of them previously suffered from an unrecognized major risk factor. According to this, around 800 participants knew nothing about certain risk factors associated with their stroke.

The 4 most common unrecognized risk factors for stroke

  1. Dyslipidemia
    74 percent of all stroke patients suffered from what is known as dyslipidemia. In more than half, the dyslipidemia was not diagnosed at the time of the stroke.
  2. high blood pressure
    High blood pressure (hypertension) was the second largest unrecognized risk factor at 23.7 percent.
  3. atrial fibrillation
    Atrial fibrillation, a mostly chronic cardiac arrhythmia, takes third place among the undiagnosed risk factors with 10.2 percent.
  4. Diabetes
    At 5.2 percent, diabetes mellitus is the fourth most common undiscovered risk factor for a stroke.

“We still have a healthcare system that is designed for acute diseases and less for chronic diseases or preventive measures,” explained André Rêgo from the Center Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, who presented the results at the European Academy of Neurology Congress. In order to achieve the goal of a healthier population, this has to change.

Unrecognized risk factors common in younger people

Undiagnosed risk factors occurred in younger people in particular, but also in connection with taking a hormonal contraceptive (contraceptive) in patients under the age of 55 or in smokers from the age of 55. At the same time, there were fewer patients in the group who were overweight or were taking platelet aggregation inhibitors (against thrombosis).

According to Rêgo, the scientists have not yet been able to fully explain this “overweight paradox”. It is probably due to the misconception that a normal weight is automatically associated with a healthy lifestyle.



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