Islamabad - According to recent study, Older adults who have had a stroke may be at greater risk of death if they have anemia.

According to the research team - including senior author Dr. Phyo Myint of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom - many patients who have experienced stroke have anemia.

Anemia is a condition characterized by low levels of circulating red blood cells or hemoglobin, which causes a reduction in the amount of oxygen that is transported to the body’s organs and tissues.

Signs and symptoms of anemia include fatigue, headache, pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath, coldness in the hands and feet, and chest pain.

Among patients who had ischemic stroke, the risk of death was increased twofold for those with anemia, compared with ischemic stroke patients who did not have anemia. Hemorrhagic stroke patients who had anemia were at 1.5 times greater risk of death.

Furthermore, the researchers found that higher hemoglobin levels among patients were associated with poorer stroke outcomes and increased risk of death, particularly in the first month after stroke.

This finding, the team says, suggests that both low and high hemoglobin levels may raise stroke patients’ risk of death.

The researchers’ findings were further confirmed with a systematic review of 20 studies - involving almost 30,000 patients - that looked at the link between anemia and stroke outcomes.

Overall, the authors say their research highlights the importance of anemia prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for stroke patients.

“One example of an intervention might be treating the underlying causes of anemia, such as iron deficiency, which is common in this age group,” says co-author Raphae Barlas, also of the University of Aberdeen.

“As the study has convincingly demonstrated, anemia does worsen the outcome of stroke, so it is very important that we identify at-risk patients and optimize the management.”

health column