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High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure and mini stroke

06/25/2007

Question:

Last week I lost sight in my left eye. My eye surgeon said that my eye was ok and that I might have had a mini stroke. I have had high blood pressure but it has been a high normal for the past 6 months or more. I am taking two medications to control my blood pressure. I have a family history of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. I am 33 years old and has never smoked. So I don`t beleive that I had one. I see a specialist tomorrow. What is the link between high blood pressure and strokes?

Answer:

Hypertension is the most important risk factor for stroke, and this relationship is present in every age group.  The risk of stroke goes up with age, however, and a stroke in a young person should lead to the search for other causes of stroke or mini-stroke.

Most strokes are due to vascular disease from atherosclerosis and/or hypertensive damage.  Strokes in young people can be due to increased coagulability of the blood (protein S deficiency, antiphospholipid syndrome or lupus), high homocysteine levels, fibromuscular dysplasia or arteritis.  While these disorders are rare, it is important to make the correct diagnosis to prevent further complications.

In your case, you will need a thorough evaluation by an internist or a neurologist.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati