Hypertension increases risk of developing epilepsy in adults; Study

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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According to a new study published in the journal ‘Epilepsia’, hypertension can double the risk of having epilepsy in adults.

Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

The statement said that “the data of 2,986 participants were included in the study.” Ms. Maria Stefanidou, MD, from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the role of modifiable vascular risk factors for predicting subsequent epilepsy among individuals aged 45 years or older in the Framingham Heart Study.

The researchers identified 55 epilepsy cases during a mean follow-up of 19 years. Hypertension, defined as the presence of elevated blood pressure or the use of antihypertensive medications, was linked to a nearly two-fold higher risk of epilepsy.

After excluding patients with normal blood pressure who were receiving antihypertensive treatment, the association was further increased (hazard ratio, 2.44), as per the study.

Ms. Stefanidou said in a statement that, “Our study shows that hypertension, a common, modifiable, vascular risk factor, is an independent predictor of epilepsy in older age.”

“Even though epidemiological studies can only show association and not causation, this observation may help identify subgroups of patients who will benefit from targeted, aggressive hypertension management and encourage the performance of dedicated clinical studies that will focus on early interventions to reduce the burden of epilepsy in older age,” she further added.

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