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Family Tree Provides Marker for Stroke Risk

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Monique Breteler, MD, associate professor of neurology at Erasmus University and a colleague of Voko, tells WebMD that they did control for risk factors, and after correcting for other risk factors "family history was an independent predictor of stroke."

Asked if persons with a family history of stroke should be counseled to take a more aggressive approach with risk factor management -- for example, by attempting to lower blood pressure to less than 120/80 -- Broderick says that good blood pressure control is important, but he isn't sure that there is evidence to support a "lower-is-better approach." Breteler says that her group has conducted studies that suggest "very low blood pressure is actually slightly more protective." She says that such an approach should be considered for persons with a family history of stroke.

Vital Information:

  • Two new studies show that having family members who have had a stroke increases the risk of stroke.
  • Patients should be aware of their family histories and make them known to their physician.
  • Counseling and prevention measures are recommended for patients who have more than one family member who's had a stroke.
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