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10 Risk Factors For Stroke

10 Risk Factors For Stroke

Researchers uncover 10 risk factors for stroke…

Researchers have uncovered 10 risk factors that account for 90 percent of all the risk of stroke. Among these factors – which included smoking, abdominal obesity, diet and physical activity – high blood was the leading cause for stroke.

“It’s important that most of the risk factors associated with stroke are modifiable,” said Dr. Martin J. O’Donnell, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, who helped lead the study. “If they are controlled, it could have a considerable impact on the incidence of stroke.”

The new study compared risk factors among 3,000 people who had a stroke, to those of 3,000 individuals who did not have a stroke.

10 risk factors for stroke 550x366 10 Risk Factors For Stroke

10 Risk Factors For Stroke

Study participants came from 22 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, India, Iran, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.

The results showed 10 main risk factors for stroke:

  • History of high blood pressure
  • Current Smoking
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet
  • More than 30 drinks per month or binge drinking
  • Ratio of blood fats known as apolipoprotein B (apo B) to apolipoprotein AI (apo AI)
  • Heart disease
  • Psychosocial stress/depression

There are two main types of stroke: an ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked; a hemorrhagic or bleeding stroke occurs when a diseased artery within the brain bursts, allowing blood to leak into the brain.

While all of these risk factors were associated with an increased risk for ischemic stroke, just high blood pressure, smoking, abdominal obesity and diet increased the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Study researchers concluded:

“Our findings suggest that ten simple risk factors are associated with the 90% of the risk of ischemic and intracerebreal hemorrhagic stroke worldwide…

“Targeted interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy heart, could substantially reduce the global burden of stroke.”

O’Donnell explained that controlling blood pressure was important because it played a major role in both forms of stroke:

“The most important thing about hypertension is its controllability. Blood pressure is easily measured, and there are lots of treatments.”

He added that the other risk factors in the top five contributors to stroke risk were modifiable as well. High intake of fish and fruits, for example, were associated with a lower risk of stroke, according to the study.

Researchers did raise concerns regarding the size of the study which “might be inadequate to provide reliable information.”

However, a second phase of the INTERSTROKE study is now underway, with researchers looking at the importance of risk factors in different regions, ethnic groups and types of ischemic stroke.

They also plan to study the association between genetics and stroke risk of 20,000 participants.

Jack V Tu, MD, PhD, of the Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre at the University of Toronto, highlighted the need for health authorities in those countries to develop strategies to reduce high blood pressure, salt intake and other risk factors.

He hopes “that these important findings should help to inform stroke prevention strategies around the world and to reduce the global burden of stroke.”

The findings from the INTERSTROKE study were published in June 18th edition of The Lancet.


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