Few studies have evaluated risk factors among stroke patients in our population. This study is aimed at exploring risk factors among black stroke patients. A total of 524 stroke patients seen at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital between January 2005 and June 2011 were evaluated to ascertain risk factors. Prestroke risk factors were obtained from patient’s medical history and hospital records. Risk factors such as hypertension were gotten from case history, with hypertension defined as blood pressure (BP) of ≥ 140/90 mmHg or features of long standing hypertension. History of smoking, alcohol intake, transient ischaemic attack (TIA) were also noted. Hypertension was the commonest risk factor, found in 87% of patients, followed by hypercholesterolaemia 15.1%, past history of stroke 11.5%, diabetes 10.1%, alcohol 8.8%, smoking 6.8%, TIA 5.3%, heart failure 2.4% and preeclampsia-eclampsia 2.0%, while 19.7% had more than one risk factor. About 53% had no prior knowledge of being hypertensive, and only about 10% had treatment for hypertension prior to having a stroke. Males had higher systolic BP. Alcohol consumption and smoking were commoner in males and the young. The younger patients were more likely to acquire basic education, nephrotic syndrome and HIV infection. Hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia were common among the middle age group, while past history of stroke and multiple risk factors were commoner among the elderly. Thirty-day fatality was 17.7% and higher in older patients. Hypertension was found to be the most important risk factor for stroke among our study population. Public enlightenment on the importance of early detection of hypertension and adherence to antihypertensive medications will go a long way in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with stroke in our environment.
Key words: Risk factors, hypertension, stroke, blacks, Nigerians.
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