FEB 19, 2016 1:05 PM PST

Untreated Hypertension Increases Risk for a Bleeding Stroke

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
At the recent International Stroke Conference of 2016, researchers presented a study that connected untreated high blood pressure with increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage.
progression of intracerebral brain hemorrhage, arrow points to a cortical hematoma

Also known as a “bleeding stroke” or a “brain bleed,” intracerebral hemorrhage is a dangerous condition where blood vessels near the brain burst, leaking fluid into the brain tissues. Increased pressure from the rush of liquid can cause death (Stroke Center).

Using six years of data from over 4500 patients, researchers were able to clearly identify a risk increase for intracerebral hemorrhage when patients let their high blood pressure go untreated, as compared to patients without any hypertension at all. When comparing untreated and treated cases of high blood pressure, both groups were at a higher risk for intracerebral hemorrhage than people without high blood pressure. However, patients with untreated high blood pressure were 5.5 times more prone to intracerebral hemorrhage, and patients treating their high blood pressure were 3.7 times as prone.

"It's important to be aware of having high blood pressure in the first place, and once diagnosed, to have it treated appropriately," said Kyle Walsh, M.D., study author and an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

The researchers controlled for many potentially confounding variables:
  1. alcohol use
  2. cholesterol levels
  3. education
  4. insurance status
  5. whether patients were taking anticoagulant medication (blood thinners)

Source: American Heart Association
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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