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Periodontitis Linked to Greater Ischemic Stroke Risks

Adults with periodontal disease may be at greater risk for ischemic stroke, according to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Researchers there assessed 6,711 adults who had not had a stroke for mild, moderate, or severe periodontal disease and followed them for 15 years to monitor the number and types of strokes that later occurred.

The researchers noted 299 ischemic strokes, including 47% that were thrombotic, from a clot within the brain’s blood vessels; 26% that were cardioembolic, when a clot forms in the heart; and 20% that were lacunar, which occurs when there is a blockage of small arteries that supply blood to the brain.

Participants with mild periodontal disease were 1.9 times more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those without periodontal disease. Those with moderate periodontal disease had 2.1 times higher stroke risk, and those with severe periodontal disease were 2.2 times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than those with no periodontal disease.

Furthermore, the association between increasing levels of periodontal disease and stroke risk was most pronounced in the cardioembolic and thrombotic stroke subtypes. The researchers concluded, then, that the graded association between the level of periodontal disease and incident ischemic stroke suggests a possible causal association.


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