A stroke is the result of blood flow to the brain coming to a sudden halt or the burst of a blood vessel that causes internal bleeding. This typically stems from a host of factors, such as long-standing hypertension. But researchers investigating the condition have also uncovered another prevalent condition in stroke patients. Fatty liver disease, which is prevalent in the UK, has been seen in nearly half of patients, according to one study.
This was illustrated in one study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, which found 42.5 percent of stroke sufferers had some degree of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The team warned the condition might also be associated with more severe stroke and worse outcomes.
They found the prevalence of diabetes was also significantly higher among individuals with NAFD, as was a bigger waist circumference.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, fatty liver disease is a ‘very common disorder’ referring to a group of conditions of excess fat in the liver.
One of the reasons for the association between fatty liver and stroke could be its connection to high blood pressure, which is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women, according to Harvard Health.
“Monitoring blood pressure, if it is elevated, treating it, is probably the biggest difference people can make to their vascular health,” says the health body.
Researchers have also pointed out that the probable link between fatty liver and stroke could also be down to fatty liver’s connections with obesity, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance.
In one study, researchers noted: “High levels of several of the liver disease biomarkers, especially those related to NAFLD, were associated with lower stroke risk in men, but with higher risk or no association in women.
“While liver disease is gaining appreciation as a risk factor for atherosclerotic CV, there is currently little known about difference in the relationship between liver disease and CVC by sex or of the association of liver biomarkers with stroke.
“Further work is needed to confirm our results and identify the mechanisms and implications of these findings.”
How to avoid stroke
Although some of the predisposing risk factors for stroke cannot be altered, many of these can be controlled.
Alongside lowering blood pressure, losing weight can bring significant improvements to cardiovascular health.
Exercise contributes to both weight loss and lowering blood pressure, and should therefore be undertaken on a daily basis.
Treating atrial fibrillation, a condition characterised by a fast or irregular heartbeat, is essential for preventing the formation of blood clots.
The condition carries a fivefold risk of stroke, so if you experience shortness of breath or heart palpitations, be sure to see a doctor.
Other factors that can accelerate the formation of clots include smoking, which thickens the blood and increases plaque build up in the arteries.
By improving such biomarkers for cardiovascular health, individuals can significantly lower their risk of having a stroke.