A new European study has established a link between uncontrolled levels of hypertension and rise in probability of getting a stroke.

Published in the European Heart Journal, the research throws light on the discovery that hypertension patients who avoid taking their anti-hypertension medication were at an increased risk of a stroke than those who controlled their hypertension levels.

Past scientific research has already established a relation between heart ailments and blood pressure and the new research has found that by decreasing hypertension, patients can reduce their chances of ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke that have serious consequences.

Using medication to minimize risk of complications

A team of researchers from University of Helsinki in Finland and University College London in UK conducted the present study. Dr Kimmo Herttua, lead author of the study who is a senior fellow in the Population Research Unit at the University of Helsinki said, “The study underscores how important it is to take the antihypertensive drugs in order to minimize the risk of serious complications such are fatal and non-fatal stroke.”

He added that non-adherent patients had a higher risk even 10 years before to suffer from a stroke and that there is a dose-response relationship. The study also took into account the antihypertensive drugs that the patients were prescribed.

“It was found that among patients taking drugs that affect the renin-angiotensin system combined with diuretics or beta-blockers, those who were non-adherent had a 7.5 times higher risk of death and a 4-fold increased risk of hospitalization compared with patients who took the medication correctly,” Dr Herttua concluded.

Study details

For the study, the researchers analyzed 73,527 hypertension patients. Those who were taking the treatment correctly more than 80% of the time were declared adherents while non-adherents patients were divided into two categories: intermediate adherence (adherence 30-80%) and low adherence (less than 30%).

They found that patients not taking treatment were at a four time higher risk of death due to a stroke in the second year after being prescribed to take hypertension medication as compared to patients taking the medication.

The researchers also found that patients who died of stroke had a 5.7 times higher risk than those taking the medication. The patients who did not take the prescription properly were at a 2.7 times higher risk of being hospitalized after a stroke.

Dr Herttua said they also took into account the fact that patient adherence can change over time and that every year they analyzed the association between treatment adherence and fatal stroke and non-fatal.

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