Clogged arteries can precipitate stroke

Clogged arteries can precipitate strokeBerlin, March 1 - Clogged arteries could precipitate a stroke, even if you're considered low risk, says a new study.

A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die because of a lack of oxygen, caused by blockage in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain.

The patient suddenly loses the ability to speak, or one side of the body can become paralysed.

"This study demonstrates that stroke risk is tightly aligned with coronary atherosclerosis, showing the closely related nature of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease," said Dirk M. Hermann, study investigator and professor of vascular neurology and dementia at the University Hospital Essen in Germany.

Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques. They gradually block the arteries and cause problems throughout the body, the journal Stroke, of the American Heart Association, reports.

Researchers used non-invasive electron beam-computed tomography, a variation of the conventional CT scan, to determine how much plaque had built up in the coronary arteries of 4,180 patients who had no previous strokes or heart attacks. During the study, 92 were reported.

The patients, men and women 45-75 years old, were followed for about eight years, according to a statement of the University Hospital.

The blockages, caused by coronary artery calcification (CAC), were significantly higher in those who had a stroke than those who didn't.

Those who had CAC levels of more than 400 Hounsfield units (HU), a density measurement, were three times more likely to have a stroke than those with CAC levels below 399 HU.

CAC measurements were more potent in predicting stroke in patients younger than 65 and those at low risk for cardiovascular disease, researchers said.

CAC levels were an accurate predictor of stroke in men and women regardless of whether patients suffered from aterial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat often associated with stroke. (IANS)