Controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as lowering high BP could cut the risk of a second stroke by 65 per cent, French research suggests.
It is common practice to lower cholesterol and BP levels in patients at risk of stroke, but this latest study examined whether lowering one risk factor could play a stronger role than another in overall stroke risk.
The research, presented earlier this week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Seattle, involved 4,731 patients who had suffered a stroke or TIA.
The patients were randomly assigned to receive either atorvastatin or placebo, and followed up over five years.
Overall, the researchers found that patients who achieved optimal levels for LDL, HDL, triglycerides and BP were 65 per cent less likely to suffer another stroke than patients who did not reach optimal levels on any of these risk factors.
Optimal levels were defined as: LDL cholesterol levels below 1.8mmol/l, HDL level higher than 1.3mmol/l, triglycerides below 1.7mmol/l and BP below 120/80mmHg.
Patients who reached optimal levels on three risk factors were 38 per cent less likely to have another stroke.
Those who only achieved target levels for two of the risk factors were 22 per cent less likely to have a stroke.
Controlling only one of the risk factors lowered stroke risk by just 2 per cent.
Lead researcher Dr Pierre Amarenco, from the Denis Diderot University and Medical School in Paris, said: 'These results show that there is a cumulative effect to lowering cholesterol and BP.'
He concluded that the study highlighted the need for patients to work with their doctors to reach the optimal level of control for all of the risk factors.
- American Academy of Neurology meeting 2009.
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