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Blacks More Prone to Hypertension After Certain Strokes

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks who survive brain bleed strokes are more likely than their white peers to have high blood pressure a year later, new research reveals.

Intracranial hemorrhages represent about 10 percent of all strokes, but about four in 10 of these strokes lead to death in the first month. The study authors pointed out that high blood pressure is a critical modifiable risk factor for a bleeding stroke.

"If you have already had a stroke, blood pressure treatment can reduce your chance of having another stroke by between 25 and 50 percent," study author Dr. Darin Zahuranec, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, in Ann Arbor, said in a journal news release.

Zahuranec and his colleagues discuss their findings in the Aug. 16 issue of Stroke.

To explore racial differences among bleeding stroke patients, the authors focused on 162 such stroke patients who were receiving care at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.

No racial differences were seen in terms of blood pressure a month after the initial stroke, the team noted.

However, when looking at a year out the team found that among the more than half that had high blood pressure, 63 percent were black and just 38 percent were white.

What's more, the authors noted that racial spread had unfolded despite the fact that more blacks than whites took medication to manage their blood pressure.

The authors could not say what is driving the observed racial differences. However, they further noted that key social differences were also at play (with married and facility-residing patients having lower blood pressure than single and home residents), and that other such variables may explain the apparent racial gap.

"Blood pressure is not just about taking medications," Zahuranec said. "Patients can have a very large impact on blood pressure control by making changes to diet and exercise habits, and with weight loss. We need to do more for our patients to help them get their blood pressure under control."

More information

For more on strokes, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

-- Alan Mozes

SOURCE: Stroke, news release, Aug. 16, 2012

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