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Untreated high blood pressure greatly raises risk of 'bleeding' stroke

Staff writer |
People with untreated high blood pressure face a much greater risk of a bleeding stroke, but that risk is even higher for blacks and Hispanics.

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"The average age for a brain hemorrhage [bleeding stroke] is much younger in minorities, especially in African-Americans, so they may suffer more disability earlier in life than others," study author Dr. Kyle Walsh said in an American Stroke Association news release.

"It's important to be aware of having high blood pressure in the first place, and once diagnosed, to have it treated appropriately," added Walsh, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati.

The study included more than 4,600 white, black and Hispanic Americans who were followed for six years. During that time, half of them suffered a bleeding stroke.

Compared to having normal blood pressure, having untreated high blood pressure increased the risk of a bleeding stroke by 11 times in blacks; 9.8 times in Hispanics; and 9.5 times in whites.

Among bleeding stroke patients with a previous diagnosis of high blood pressure, high blood pressure was more likely to be untreated in Hispanics (48 percent) and blacks (43 percent) than in whites (33 percent).

Less access to medical care may be one reason Hispanics and blacks are more likely to have untreated high blood pressure, the researchers suggested.

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