(HealthDay News) — People who aren’t well-hydrated when they have a stroke are about four times more likely to have a worse outcome than people who’ve had more fluids, a new study suggests. The research is scheduled to be presented Thursday at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 11 to 13 in Nashville, Tenn.

Mona Bahouth, M.D., a cerebrovascular fellow in the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and colleagues collected data from 168 people who had ischemic strokes at Johns Hopkins Hospital during a nine-month span. About 44 percent of patients were found to be dehydrated, based on results of two well-accepted measurements — blood urea nitrogen:creatinine ratio and urine specific gravity. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging scans to monitor brain damage from the stroke. They also tried to factor out possible effects from age and other variables.

The researchers found that stroke effects worsened or stayed the same in 42 percent of dehydrated patients after hospitalization for their stroke, compared to 17 percent of hydrated patients.

Bahouth told HealthDay that prior research found that about 60 percent of people are dehydrated when they have a stroke, but it’s not clear why. While seniors tend to be more dehydrated than younger adults for a variety of reasons — including a diminished sense of thirst — patients in Bahouth’s study averaged in their 60s, which is “still fairly young,” she said.

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