Honing in on identifying imminent stroke just became easier, suggests a recent study out of the Singapore Eye Research Institute.
In the study, researchers have discovered an amazing new way to identify whether or not a person with high blood pressure is headed for a stroke without any invasive tests- and it’s as simple as a photograph.
Two things have been known for a long time about high blood pressure and stroke- High blood pressure causes vascular damage all over the body, even in the very smallest of vessels like those found in the retina; and, chronic high blood pressure can lead to stroke.
However, until the Singapore study, scientists have not been able to find a non-invasive way to determine accurately which hypertensive patients (those with high blood pressure) were definitely headed for a stroke.
The new retinal photograph, though, is being lauded by doctors as the very test they’ve been looking for- it’s very accurate and completely non-invasive.
The test works by determining if a person has hypertensive retinopathy, which is a condition that happens when high blood pressure causes changes in the blood vessels of the retina. Changes in these vessels mirror the changes in the vessels of the brain that are involved in a stroke.
In the study, hypertensive participants were followed for more than 13 years and evaluated on the severity of their hypertensive retinopathy. They either had severe, mild, or none.
Those with severe retinopathy had a 137% higher risk of having a stroke, as compared to those who had no retinopathy. Even those with mild retinopathy were 35% more likely to suffer from a stroke.
While the findings were welcome in the scientific community, more research is needed to validate the conclusions.
Simple tests help to identify stroke risk, but these simple exercises eliminate high blood pressure.