Urinary tract infections: A possible trigger for stroke

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Infections — especially those in the urinary tract, known as UTIs — may raise the risk of a stroke, a new study finds.

Researchers examined the electronic medical records of more than 191,000 stroke patients to see if they'd been hospitalized or gone to an emergency room for an infection shortly before the stroke. They tracked infections of the abdomen, blood, respiratory tract, skin, or urinary tract.

The risk of stroke was higher in the weeks and months following any infection that required a trip to the hospital, the researchers found. But the link was strongest for UTIs: they were associated with more than triple the usual risk of stroke within 30 days of the infection.

The observed connection makes sense: Infections cause inflammation throughout the body, which may encourage blood clots to form. Most strokes result from a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain.

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