Stroke

Updated 30 July 2014

7 lifestyle changes can cut your stroke risk

Certain lifestyle changes could greatly reduce your stroke risk, according to a new study.

2

Researchers calculated stroke risk among nearly 23 000 Americans aged 45 and older. Their risk was assessed using the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 health factors: be active, control cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, manage blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and don't smoke.

During five years of follow-up, 432 strokes occurred among the participants. All seven factors played an important role in predicting stroke risk, but blood pressure was the most important, according to the study, which was published in the journal Stroke.

"Compared to those with poor blood pressure status, those who were ideal had a 60% lower risk of future stroke," study senior author Dr Mary Cushman, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington, said.

Lowering your stroke risk

Cushman and her colleagues also found that people who didn't smoke or quit smoking more than a year before the start of the study had a 40% lower stroke risk.

For the study, the researchers categorised the participants' Life's Simple 7 scores as inadequate (zero to four points), average (five to nine points) or optimum (10 to 14 points). Every one-point increase was associated with an 8% lower stroke risk. People with optimum scores had a 48% lower risk than those with inadequate scores, and those with average scores had a 27% lower risk.

Overall, blacks had lower scores than whites, but the association between scores and stroke risk was similar for blacks and whites.

"This highlights the critical importance of improving these health factors since blacks have nearly twice the stroke mortality rates as whites," Cushman said.

Each year, about 795 000 people in the United States have a stroke, which is the No. 4 killer and a leading cause of long-term disability in the country, according to the American Heart Association.

More information

The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about stroke and stroke prevention.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Ask the Expert

Stroke Expert

Dr. Ashleigh Bhanjan is a specialist neurologist at the Life Entabeni hospital in Durban. Dr. Bhanjan completed his internship at Johannesburg General hospital and his community service at Ladysmith Provincial hospital before qualifying as a Fellow of the College of Neurologists of South Africa in 2008. Since 2009, he has been practicing at the Life Entabeni hospital as a specialist neurologist with a particular interest in stroke neurology.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules