According to a new study, researchers suggest that the presence of proteins linked to inflammation could increase the risk of stroke among men with high blood pressure. Although we know that high blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, it's still the case that not everyone with hypertension actually suffers a stroke. Researchers at Malmo University, Sweden, believe that inflammation could be the key to understanding this question.
They measured levels of various proteins known to be linked to inflammation - a process that's known to damage the arteries and could pave the way for a stroke. They studied over 5,050 healthy Swedish men, measuring stroke risk, blood pressure and levels of the inflammation-sensitive plasma proteins (ISPs). The men were followed up for nearly 19 years, during which time 200 strokes occurred.
Men with high levels of ISPs and high blood pressure were four times more likely to have a stroke than men with normal blood pressure and ISPs. When blood pressure was elevated, but ISPs normal, the risk was only 2.5 times that of healthy men. Clearly ISPs - and inflammation - are factors in determining stroke risk among those who have high blood pressure.