London: People who have attained a high level of education and also complain about memory lapses face a higher risk of a stroke, says a study, adding that the results apply evenly to men and women.
Previous studies have shown how stroke results in memory lapses.
"Given the shared underlying vascular pathology, we posed the reverse question: Do memory complaints indicate an increased risk of strokes?" said Arfan Ikram, associate professor of neuroepidemiology at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, in The Netherlands.
The study tracked about 9,000 people in Rotterdam over a period of 20 years. All the participants, aged 55 years or older, were asked in a questionnaire whether they were already experiencing memory issues.
In 2012, of the total number, 1,134 had already suffered from strokes. An analysis of the data revealed that the people who face a higher risk of suffering a stroke were those that had earlier indicated they were experiencing lapses in their memory.
Furthermore, those with memory complaints had a 39 percent higher risk of suffering a stroke if they had also attained a higher level of education.
The finding is comparable to the association between subjective memory complaints and Alzheimer's disease among highly educated people.
"We would like to assess whether people who complain about changes in their memory should be considered primary targets for further risk assessment and prevention of stroke," he added.
The research appeared in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.