The amount of risk of stroke in patients with high blood pressure and diabetes may decrease as people age, a new study has shown. According to the study published online in the Journal Neurology, high blood pressure and diabetes are two important risk factors for stroke that can be managed by medication, decreasing a person's risk of having a stroke.
"Our findings show that their association with stroke risk may be substantially less at older ages, yet other risk factors do not change with age. These differences in risk factors imply that determining whether a person is at high risk for stroke may differ depending on their age," said study author George Howard, DrPH, of the University of Alabama in the US.
While conducting the study, the researchers divided the participants into three age groups. The younger group included participants ages 45-69, the middle group included people in their late 60s to 70s, and the older group included people 74 and older.
Researchers discovered that people with diabetes in the younger age group were approximately twice as likely to have a stroke as people of similar age who did not have diabetes, while people with diabetes in the older age group had an approximately 30 per cent higher risk of having a stroke than people of similar older age who did not have diabetes.
Moreover, they also discovered that people with high blood pressure in the younger age group had an 80 per cent higher risk of having a stroke than people of similar age who did not have high blood pressure, whereas that risk decreased to 50 per cent for people with high blood pressure in the older age group compared to people of similar age who did not have high blood pressure.
Furthermore, when researchers looked at race as a risk factor, they discovered that Black participants in the younger age group had a higher stroke risk than white participants in that group.
The race disparity shrank as people got older. Researchers found no age-related change in risk for stroke risk factors such as smoking, atrial fibrillation, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
Howard also noted that even if the impact of risk factors decreases with age, the total number of people with strokes at older ages may still be higher because overall stroke risk increases with age.