A pair of new studies has revealed that gum diseases could be associated with a heightened risk of strokes and atherosclerosis of hardening of the arterial walls. The results of this new research are to be presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2020 between the 19th and 21st of February 2020 in Los Angeles. Dental exam. Image Credit: American Heart Association
According to the results of these two studies, there is a connection between gum diseases and atherosclerosis or hardening of the walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis, on the other hand, raises the risk of strokes say the researchers. The team, however, warns that this study does not prove a "cause-effect" relationship between the two conditions, and thus results need to be interpreted carefully.
Dr. Souvik Sen, senior author of both studies and professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, in his statement, said, "Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the soft and hard structures supporting the teeth and is associated with inflammation. Because inflammation appears to play a major role in the development and worsening of atherosclerosis or 'hardening' of blood vessels, we investigated if gum disease is associated with blockages in brain vessels and strokes caused by atherosclerosis of the brain vessels."
In the first study the titled, "Periodontal disease association with large artery atherothrombotic stroke," is slated for an oral presentation at the conference. It looked at 265 participants of an average age of 64 years. Of these 56 percent were men rest females. In the study, 49 percent of the participants were white, and others were of other ethnicities and racial origins. These participants had experienced a stroke between 2015 and 2017 explained the researchers. They looked at the association of the strokes with gum diseases in these individuals.
Results revealed that strokes in the large arteries of the brain were linked to intracranial atherosclerosis, and this was twice as common among those with gum disease. On the flip side, those with gum disease had three times raised risk of getting strokes involving arteries in the backs of their brains compared to others. These arteries are vital in controlling vision, balance, and coordination as well as other vital functions of the body. Gum diseases were not common among those who had a stroke due to blood vessel occlusion or blockage outside the skull. Large blood vessel strokes within the brain were associated with gum disease, however. Related Stories
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