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Testing for risk factors, infections could prevent strokes

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Being exposed to several common infections may increase a person's risk of having a stroke later in life, a new study shows.

The research, published in the November 9 online edition of the Archives of Neurology, found that the common pathogens Chlamydia pneumonia, helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 may accelerate arterial disease and lead to a higher risk of having a stroke, HealthDay News reports.

Data revealed that of 1,625 adults from Manhattan whose medical histories were tracked for 7.6 years, a total of 67 patients suffered a stroke. The research team determined that the majority of this group tested positive for one or more of the suspected pathogens.

"Each individual infection was positively, though not significantly, associated with stroke risk after adjusting for other risk factors," Dr Mitchell Elkind, the study's lead author, told the news source. "The infectious burden index was associated with an increased risk of all strokes after adjusting for demographics and risk factors."

Though the scientists are not certain how the infections harm arterial function, they hypothesize that the presence of pathogens may inflame the blood vessels, causing constricted blood flow.

According to the National Stroke Association, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Testing for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can help diagnose stroke risk.

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