Small Changes Can Decrease Risk of Stroke
Reported February 25, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Making simple changes to your lifestyle could dramatically decrease your risk of having a stroke, one of the leading causes of death and illness across the world.
British researchers found people who lead unhealthy lifestyles are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke than those who eat and drink sensibly, do not smoke and exercise regularly.
More than 20,000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 79 completed detailed health and lifestyle questionnaires and underwent a health examination by trained nurses. Participants scored one point for each of four healthy behaviors: not currently smoking, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake and blood vitamin C levels that indicated consuming at least five servings of fruits or vegetables a day.
Participants could have a score between zero and four, with a higher score indicating more protective behavior. They were then followed for an average of 11.5 years, and strokes were recorded using death certificates and hospital discharge data.
After adjusting for other factors that could have affected the results, the researchers said the risk of stroke was 2.3 times greater in those with a score of zero compared to those with a score of four. They also discovered that the risk of stroke increased with every point decrease in health behavior score. In other words, those with a score of two were 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those with a score of four.
The researchers said they hope their results will show people that small differences in lifestyle may have substantial potential impacts on stroke risk.
SOURCE: Published on the British Medical Journal’s Web site on Feb. 20, 2009