Stroke Death Linked to High Body Mass Index in Chinese

Systolic blood pressure linked to stroke mortality, even at relatively low pressures

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Among Chinese men who are overweight or obese, a higher body mass index is associated with an increased risk of death from stroke, according to a study released online Jan. 31 in advance of publication in the March issue of Stroke.

Maigeng Zhou, of the Chinese Center for Disease Control in Beijing, and colleagues analyzed data from 212,000 middle-aged and older Chinese men (40 to 79 years) without known cardiovascular disease, who were followed-up for 10 years. Height, weight, blood pressure and smoking status were assessed at baseline, and researchers tracked causes of death from death certificates and review of medical records.

About 90 percent of men had a body mass index (BMI) below 25 kg/m2 -- China having a relatively lean population -- and in these men, BMI was not associated with stroke mortality, the researchers report. Stroke mortality only increased progressively at BMIs higher than 25, with similar effects on ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The investigators also found a positive relation between systolic blood pressure and stroke mortality, but in this case, there was no lower threshold below which blood pressure ceased to be related to lower stroke mortality.

"In the present study, there were large numbers of stroke deaths, and two-thirds were attributed to hemorrhagic stroke (and a further 7 percent to subarachnoid hemorrhage). Despite this, there was no evidence that the association with BMI differed significantly between hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke," the authors write.

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