A new study shows that you have a lot more power over strokes than you thought.
An amazing new report has good news for those who are worried about strokes: almost all of them are totally preventable.
The study found that 90 percent of strokes are preventable, with high blood pressure the most important risk factor, according to a McMaster University statement.
The findings are based on an analysis of nearly 27,000 people from around the world. In addition to high blood pressure, there are nine other risk factors that account for almost all strokes.
The most important thing you can do to avoid stroke is to lower your blood pressure by taking steps your doctor prescribes for you. Other ways include increasing the amount of physical activity you get, improving your diet, losing weight, stopping smoking, limiting your alcohol intake and removing things from your life that cause you stress.
It’s the kind of steps doctors have preached at us for years, but the study illuminates just how much control we have over whether a medical emergency like a stroke hits us. By taking doctors’ advice, we can greatly limit the likelihood of 90 percent of strokes.
“This study has the size and scope to explore stroke risk factors in all major regions of the world and within key populations,” Dr. Martin O’Donnell, a principal investigator for the PHRI and professor of translational medicine at HRB-Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway, said in the statement. “We have confirmed the ten modifiable risk factors associated with 90% of stroke cases in all regions, young and older and in men and women. The study also confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally.”
The statement adds: “The number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48%) if hypertension was eliminated; trimmed by more than a third (36%) if people were physically active; and shaved by almost one fifth (19%) if they had better diets. In addition, this proportion was cut back by 12% if smoking was eliminated; 9% for cardiac (heart) causes, 4% for diabetes, 6% for alcohol intake, 6% for stress, and 27% for lipids (the study used apolipoproteins, which was found to be a better predictor of stroke than total cholesterol).”