PEOPLE who suffer from bronchitis, gum disease and tooth decay are twice as likely to have a stroke, say scientists.
A study published today reveals strong links between bacteria found in the mouth and stomach, and the onset of thickened artery walls and strokes.
The research does not prove patients can 'catch' a stroke or heart disease as they might catch a cold, but it is further evidence that bacteria are involved in illnesses more often associated with diet, lifestyle and genetic vulnerability.
The researchers from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, compared 166 stroke victims with 166 people who had never suffered such an attack.
They found full-blown and mini strokes occurred twice as often among those with frequent or chronic bronchitis and about two-and-a-half times more often in those who had cavities, gum disease and other infections, the American Heart Association journal
Researcher Dr Armin Grau, of the University of Heidelberg department of neurology, said there was growing evidence that chronic bronchitis, and infection with the bugs causing ulcers, pneumonia and cyto-megalovirus - a serious illness with some similarities to glandular fever - were linked to heart disease and problems with arteries.
'Chronic infection may be a treatable condition and for preventive purposes it appears important to a stroke elucidate its role as a potential stroke risk factor,' he said. …