New York, Feb 13 IANS | 10 months ago

Cocaine is not only addictive, it can also lead to disability or death from stroke within 24 hours of use, warn researchers.

Cocaine greatly increases ischemic stroke risk in young adults within a day of use.

Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked, preventing a continuous supply of blood to the brain.

"Cocaine use is one of the risk factors we investigated and we were surprised at how strong an association there is between cocaine and stroke risk in young adults," said Yu-Ching Cheng, research scientist at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The researchers found the stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use is much higher than some other stroke risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.

"With few exceptions, we believe every young stroke patient should be screened for drug abuse at the time of hospital admission," explained Cheng in the research presented at the American Stroke Association's 'International Stroke Conference 2014'.

Despite the strong stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use, in our study, only about one-third of young stroke patients had toxicology screenings done during hospitalisation.

"We think the percentage of cocaine use could be higher than we have reported," said Cheng.

(Posted on 13-02-2014)

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