A recent study reveals a stunning truth about strokes and how they may be prevented.
As we reported recently, a new study from an international group of scientists made a shocking discovery about strokes. The study, published in the journal The Lancet, found that potentially nine out of ten of the most common risk factors for strokes can be treated with normal health care.
The study, which examined nearly 27,000 people from countries on every continent in the world, reiterated that many of the risk factors for strokes, including the leading cause hypertension, could be easily modified by basic health care.
The risk factors for stroke varied slightly across regions, but the key takeaway of the study is that an overwhelmingly large number of strokes could probably have been prevented were access to proper health care made available.
Researchers calculated the population attributable risk, or an estimate of the burden that could be reduced by eliminating a single risk factor, was highest for hypertension, or high blood pressure, at 47.9 percent. Other major risk factors that influenced stroke included physical inactivity, bad diet, obesity, smoking, heart disease, diabetes, alcohol intake, stress, and apolipoproteins.
The vast majority of these risk factors are caused by problems that could be easily solved. Improving diet and exercising could reduce the risk posed by hypertension, obesity and heart disease. People can also reduce their risk of stroke by avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Researchers stress that it takes a targeted approach that varies across the regions of the world to address such this problem.
According to Professor Salim Yusuf, “This is the first study that is adequately powered to explore stroke risk factors in all regions of the world and between stroke subtypes. The wider scope of this phase of our study lends a greater generalisability to the original INTERSTROKE results, and confirms the ten modifiable risk factors associated with 90% of stroke cases. The study also confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and is therefore the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally.”
A press release from McMaster University describing the details of the study can be found here.