A new study out of China has found that vitamin D levels predict short-term disability outcomes and death in those who suffered acute ischemic stroke.
Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is the most common type of stroke. In the United States, around 800,000 people suffer from strokes every year and 80-90% of those are ischemic. In AIS, the blood supply to the brain is cut off because of blockage in the arteries or blood vessels.
Vitamin D is of interest in AIS because previous research has linked vitamin D with risk of a variety of cardiovascular events and mortality. Previous research has found that low vitamin D increases your risk of stroke.
But what about after the stroke event? Does low vitamin D increase your risk of disability or death after stroke? Researchers decided to find out.
They conducted a case-control study on 220 patients who had an AIS type stroke. They matched these patients to controls. Blood samples were used to evaluate vitamin D levels.
Ninety days after the stroke event, researchers looked back to see which patients survived and those who did, how they performed on a disability test, called the Rankin Scale.
The researchers found that patients with AIS had significantly lower vitamin D levels of 14.2 ng/ml compared to 17.0 ng/ml in the control group. Furthermore, the researchers found that low vitamin D levels were associated with increased risk of death after stroke and disability after stroke.
The researchers concluded, “These findings suggest that 25(OH)D is an independent prognostic marker for death and functional outcome within 90 days in Chinese patients with AIS even after adjusting for possible confounding factors.”