In a new study from Boston University, researchers found high blood pressure may double an adult’s risk of developing epilepsy.
In the study of 2,986 U.S. adults with an average age of 58 years, 55 new cases of epilepsy were identified during an average follow-up of 19 years.
The team found hypertension, defined as the presence of elevated blood pressure or use of antihypertensive medications, was linked to nearly 2-fold higher risk of epilepsy.
After excluding participants with normal blood pressure on antihypertensive medications, they found high blood pressure was linked to a 2.44-times higher risk of epilepsy.
This study shows that hypertension, a common, modifiable, vascular risk factor, is an independent predictor of epilepsy in older age.
This observation may help identify subgroups of patients who will benefit from targeted, aggressive hypertension management.
It also encourages the performance of dedicated clinical studies that will focus on early interventions to reduce the burden of epilepsy in older age.
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The study is published in Epilepsia. One author of the study is Maria Stefanidou, MD, MSc.
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