A recent study published in the Journal of Stroke Cerebrovascular Disease found that low vitamin D status is independently associated with larger lesion volumes after ischemic stroke.
Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for nearly 130,000 deaths in America each year. Ischemic strokes account for approximately 87% of all strokes.
Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks an artery leading to the brain. This causes brain cells and tissue to die within minutes due to lack of oxygen and nutrients, which are normally delivered to the brain from the blood. The area of tissue death is called an infarct.
Common symptoms of ischemic stroke include sudden numbness, sudden confusion, loss of vision, dizziness, loss of coordination and severe headache.
Studies have reported a relationship between low vitamin D status and an increased risk for stroke and stroke fatality. However, it is unclear whether vitamin D status is associated with the infarct volume. Infarct volume is commonly used to assess the extent of ischemic brain injury after an ischemic stroke.
Researchers recently retrospectively analyzed data of 96 ischemic stroke patients. They wanted to determine whether vitamin D levels were an independent predictor of infarct volume and 90-day outcome.
They found that higher vitamin D status was independently associated with smaller infarct volumes (p < .05). Additionally, the risk for a poor 90-day outcome doubled with each 10 ng/ml decrease in vitamin D status.
The researchers stated,
“In summary, to the best of our knowledge, we show for the first time that serum 25(OH)D is independently associated with the infarct volume, providing novel insight into how vitamin D status may be associated with outcome after ischemic stroke.”