THURSDAY, April 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A drug used to improve the function of retinal blood vessels may help reduce stroke risk, according to a study in the April 8 rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study of 38 young adults found that endothelial function is abnormal in the eye blood vessels of people with early stage hypertension, or high blood pressure. The endothelium -- the lining of vessel walls -- plays a major role in the ability of vessels to constrict and relax.
The study also found that treatment with an angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) drug improved endothelial function in these people.
Retinal and brain blood vessels are similar. So this study's findings suggest that an ARB can improve the function of brain blood vessels as well as the function of eye blood vessels, said the study's lead author Dr. Christian Delles. Delles is a research fellow at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Center in Scotland, but he did the study at the Clinical Research Center at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg in Germany.
"Studying the reaction of blood vessels in the eyes may offer insight into stroke prevention by revealing how blood vessels in the brain react to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke," Delles said in a prepared statement.
The American Medical Association has more about the effects of stroke.