Older adults are less likely to experience certain well known risk factors of a stroke compared to younger people, academics have said.

As people age, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are less likely to be a risk factor for a stroke, new research has reported.

Main author Dr George Howard said: “High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are two important risk factors for stroke that can be managed by medication, decreasing a person’s risk.

“Our findings show that their association with stroke risk may be substantially less at older ages, yet other risk factors do not change with age.”

He added: “These differences in risk factors imply that determining whether a person is at high risk for stroke may differ depending on their age.”

During the investigation, more than 28,000 people took part in the study by filling in assessments on their health.

All of the participants had never previously had a stroke and were examined for a total of 11 years.

The research team analysed whether the participants experienced risk factors associated with a stroke, such as atrial fibrillation, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy and smoking.

More than 1,400 strokes occurred over the 11-year-long research study. The academics found that the younger participants living with diabetes were 50 per cent more likely to have a stroke compared to the younger people without the condition.

In addition, the younger participants with high blood pressure were 80 per cent more likely to have a stroke compared to the people in the younger age group without the condition, the study reported.

Meanwhile, the older participants with high blood pressure were only 50 per cent more likely to have a stroke compared to other older people without high blood pressure, according to the research.

Dr Howard said: “It is important to note that our results do not suggest that treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes becomes unimportant in older age.

“Such treatments are still very important for a person’s health. But it also may be wise for doctors to focus on managing risk factors such as atrial fibrillation, smoking and left ventricular hypertrophy as people age.”

To read the study, click here.

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