Study Suggests Drug Abuse Increases Risk of Brain Hemorrhage

A study of 307 patients who had suffered an intracranial hemorrhage found 20% of the adults in that group, who were 49 or younger, had drugs in their system. The finding was presented at the American Stroke Association’s annual stroke conference on February 17, in Kissimmee, Florida.

In a prepared statement, study author Dr. Michael Hoffman, director of the stroke program at Tampa General Hospital-University of South Florida, said:  “The dominant drug of abuse was cocaine, long recognized as a risk factor for intracerebral hemorrhage. Marijuana was another frequently abused drug, and is beginning to emerge as a risk factor for stroke. Amphetamines also were commonly abused.”

According to HealthDay News (2/17/06), intracerebral hemorrhage “is often linked with high blood pressure in people over age 50.”

In this particular study, 57% of the patients studied, who were 50 and older, had high blood pressure, compared with 33% of those aged 18 to 49. Of the younger group of patients, 41% had malformed blood vessels in the brain, which increases the risk of an intracranial bleed.

The 30-day death rate for the 18-49 year-olds was 14.6%, compared with 21% for the 50-plus  age group.

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