A study at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that, in women who suffer a stroke, the chance of suffering cognitive impairment increases in the presence of high blood pressure (BP) prior to the stroke. Researchers believe the reason could be that preexisting damage from the high BP hinders recovery from stroke.
Researchers studied 260 women who suffered a stroke between 1986 and 1988. Cognitive testing was performed within 2 years of the initial stroke and again at a median of 1.9 years. Compared with women who had normal BP prior to the stroke, those with high BP showed significantly greater reductions in the rate at which they completed a cognitive function test.
The odds for decline in brain function after stroke were ~4 times greater in women with higher prestroke BP than in women with normal prestroke BP. The investigators concluded that the higher BP could hinder a person's ability to recover from or tolerate brain injury brought on by stroke.