Stroke: Symptoms Causes Include Genetic Link

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A stroke is a serious, life-threatening illness that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. Stroke remains one of the leading causes of death in the UK, so researchers are actively trying to understand the risk factors that contribute to it. A new study has shed light on a previously unknown risk factor for an uncommon type of stroke: cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT).

CVT is a blood clot from a cerebral vein in the brain, accounting for less than one percent of all stroke cases worldwide.

New research from a consortium led by Royal Holloway, University of London, identified the first genetic link for CVT.

Although many risk factors have previously been reported to contribute to CVT in adults, its genetic basis has not been well understood.

In this study, researchers were able to identify the first chromosomal region strongly associated with genetic susceptibility to CVT: the ABO gene – a gene that determines individual blood group status.

READ MORE: Stroke: Lifestyle-modifiable factor increases your risk by 90% – new study

To study the association, 882 Europeans diagnosed with CVT (and a control group of 1205 individuals of similar demographic characteristics without CVT) participated in the genome study.

By identifying an area of ​​the human genome that strongly correlated with CVT, the researchers found that this region more than doubled the likelihood of CVT: a higher risk than any previously identified genetic risk marker.

Researchers were also able to show that people with AB blood type were 5.6 times more likely to develop CVT than those with O blood type.

Professor Pankaj Sharma, Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “CVT is a form of stroke that affects young people, especially women.

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Our work, which has lasted for 10 years, brings together a global international collaboration that has identified a risk factor, as simple as a person’s blood type, and presents a major advance in the prediction and understanding of the mechanism of this disease.

“Needless to say, CVT has entered the public domain following its association with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

“It remains to be seen whether an individual’s blood group status affects their risk of developing CVT after the vaccine. “

Other risk factors for CVD

According to an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)Another important risk factor for CVT is oral contraceptives that contain estrogen.

The main symptoms of stroke can be recalled with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have fallen to one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eyes may have fallen.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift and hold both arms due to weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be scrambled or scrambled, or the person may not be able to speak at all despite appearing awake; they may also have difficulty understanding what you are telling them
  • Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
  • It is important that everyone is aware of these signs and symptoms, especially if you live with or are caring for someone who is in a high risk group.

High-risk groups include the elderly or people with diabetes or high blood pressure, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of the FAST test identify most strokes, but sometimes a stroke can cause different symptoms.

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Complete paralysis on one side of the body
  • Sudden loss or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • A sudden, very severe headache resulting in blinding pain like never before
  • Loss of consciousness.


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