Study: Stroke Doubles Dementia Risk

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People who have a stroke are about twice as likely to develop dementia as people who don’t have a stroke, according to a review of studies involving 3.2 million people-mostly older adults-worldwide. The analysis, conducted by the University of Exeter Medical School in England and the University of Michigan, didn’t report whether risk of dementia was higher for ischemic strokes (the most common kind, caused by a blood clot) or hemorrhagic strokes (caused by an artery bleeding in the brain). The findings were published online in August inAlzheimer’s & Dementia.

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW: Researchers hope to determine whether differences in poststroke care and lifestyle changes can lower dementia risk in people who’ve had a stroke.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Stroke prevention may decrease your risk for dementia. You can help prevent a stroke by getting high blood pressure and diabetes under control, engaging in regular physical activity, consuming heart-healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. If you’ve already had a stroke, follow the same advice as well as advice from your doctor to prevent a second stroke, which may include taking medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes and an antiplatelet medication (such as aspirin) or an anticoagulant drug (such as warfarin).