Study looks at 27,000 people across the world for cause of strokes.
Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability, and hits low- and middle-income regions the hardest, but a new study just released says 90 percent of all strokes could have been prevented, according to a story on eurekalert.org.
The study, which analyzed data from almost 27,000 individuals from all the continents, found that the top ten risk factors for stroke, led by hypertension, were conditions that could have been managed by proper health care.
The study leader, Dr. Martin O’Donnell of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, said the size and scope of the study explored the risk factors across all major regions of the world.
“The wider reach confirms the ten modifiable risk factors associated with 90% of stroke cases in all regions, young and older and in men and women. The study confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally,” added, O’Donnell.
To make an estimate of the proportion of strokes caused by a certain risk fa tor, the research team calculated a population attributable risk (PAR). PAR is defined as an estimate of the overall disease burden that could be reduced if it were eliminated. Hypertension scored the highest PAR, at 47.9%, followed by physical inactivity at 35.8%, poor diet at 23.2% and 18.6% for obesity. Other factors, such as smoking, diabetes and stress were also scored. The top ten factors combined for a total PAR of 90.7%.
Risk factor varied by region across the globe. Hypertension, foe example, ranged from 38.8% in western Europe, North America, and Australia, to 59.6% in Southeast Asia. The PAR for physical inactivity was highest in China.
The two major types of strokes are ischaemic stroke, caused by blood clots and accounting for as much as 85 percent of strokes, and haemorrhagic strokes, bleeding in the brain, which accounts for about 15 percent. Stroke prevention has been called an major public health priority.
The findings from the study were published in the journal The Lancet.