Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability in adults. New research out of the University of Michigan suggests that those who experience a traumatic brain injury may be at greater risk in the long run of suffering from a debilitating stroke, on top of dealing with an existing head trauma.
While this may seem somewhat obvious - trauma to the brain making the brain more susceptible to health issues in the future - the importance of the findings lies not only in creating awareness of the increased potential but also in calculating the full amount of damages that may be attributable to a traumatic head or brain injury.
Researchers tracked stroke patients in California over the course of two-year study. Among their findings was that those who suffered a TBI had a one percent chance of suffering an ischemic stroke. Those with no history of brain injury had under a one percent chance. Once high-risk conditions were normalized, the correlation of TBI and ischemic stroke was substantial.
Researchers noted that TBI may be as important a risk factor in determining the likelihood of stroke as is high blood pressure, the most important currently known risk factor.
Of those who suffer strokes, 80 percent experience an ischemic stroke. This type of stroke involves the cutting off of blood flow to part of the brain because of a fatty deposit or clot in the vessel.
Source: UofMHealth, "Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke, U-M study suggests," June 28, 2013