major undiagnosed risk factors


  • There are 140,000 transient ischemic attacks in France every year.
  • According to health insurance companies, one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime.

The most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke, occurs when a blood clot or other blockage cuts off the blood supply to the brain. And according to the work presented this Sunday at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology 2022 in Vienna, certain key risks of this type of stroke remain poorly identified.

Underdiagnosed risk factors

The study was conducted by researchers from the Center Vaudois (Lausanne, Switzerland). It shows that victims of an ischemic cerebrovascular accident (CVA) with no previously diagnosed risk factor have undiagnosed underlying pathologies in the majority of cases.

To reach these conclusions, the paper’s authors reviewed the medical records of 4,354 patients who suffered a stroke between 2003 and 2018, including 1,125 cases who had not previously been diagnosed with major risk factors. Overall, the study identified a major risk factor in 67.7% of affected patients.

Better monitor blood imbalances…

The most commonly identified vascular risk factor was dyslipidemia. In other words, an imbalance in blood lipids that can be triggered by several factors, including high cholesterol or high triglyceride levels (seen in 61.4% of patients). The second most common risk factor was high blood pressure, detected in 23.7% of patients. In addition, one in ten patients suffered from atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes a rapid and often irregular heartbeat.

Correlations have also been found between stroke victims and various factors such as young age, smoking in those over 55, or use of contraceptives in women under 55. Conversely, anticoagulant use and a high body mass index (BMI) do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of stroke.

…like high cholesterol

Our results underscore the importance of testing and treating blood lipid imbalances such as high cholesterol and triglycerides and blood pressure, as well as identifying and treating people with atrial fibrillation and type 2 diabetes.” emphasizes Dr. André Rêgo, who led the study.

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