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Seniors' Health: Study links kidney disease with stroke in older adults

Bleeding in the brain is more common in people who show early signs of kidney problems

Older adults with early-stage kidney disease may be at increased risk for a type of stroke involving bleeding in the brain.

Dr. Michiel Bos, a resident at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, tracked nearly 5,000 people age 55 and older who had no history of stroke when they entered the study in the early 1990s.

As of January 2005, nearly 600 participants had suffered a stroke, of which 10 per cent were so-called hemorrhagic strokes involving bleeding in the brain.

Blood tests indicated that participants with the worst kidney function had a fourfold increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared with participants who had the healthiest kidneys.

There was no association between kidney disease and the more common ischemic stroke, which involves a blockage in blood flow to the brain.

Bos says the explanation for the study findings is not known, but it may relate to problems with blood vessel function that affect both the kidneys and the brain.