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As humans age, the risk of suffering a stroke proportionally increases to a point where stroke has become one of the most common causes of premature death and disability on a global scale.
So what can be done to lower your own personal risk of suffering a stroke?
Let’s look at the most common causes that research has shown which are the most likely reasons why people have suffer strokes.
A new study conducted in Canada and Ireland involving researchers in 22 countries looked at 6000 participants to determine the 10 underlying risk factors that are most commonly found in people who experienced strokes.
The interesting thing about this study is that it demonstrated that the 10 modifiable risk factors for stroke when pooled together accounted for over 90% of the cases of stroke reported by the participants in this study!
To determine the exact impact that each risk factor had in the development of stroke in this study population, the researchers calculated the population attributable risk for each factor (PAR; an estimate of the overall disease burden that could be reduced if an individual risk factor were eliminated)
This what the researchers determined.
The PAR was 47.9% for hypertension, 35.8% for physical inactivity, 23.2% for a poor diet, 18.6% for obesity, 12.4% for smoking, 9.1% for cardiac (heart) causes, 3.9% for type-2 diabetes, 5.8% for alcohol intake, 5.8% for stress, and 26.8% for high blood lipid levels. Many of these risk factors are known to also be associated with each other (e.g. obesity and diabetes), and when combined together, the total PAR for all ten risk factors was 90.7%.
This relationship was found despite differences in demographics, age or gender!
As you have noticed, the most common causes for the development of stroke are mostly all totally preventable! Also please keep in mind these findings were the case regardless of age, geographic location or gender!
What the take-away message here is that the majority of stroke cases are caused by common modifiable risk factors. Despite the fact that we need improved levels of health education, access to affordable healthy food, exercise facilitites and better tobacco control, the onus clearly rests upon the individual to take the necessary steps as they age to prevent strokes from occuring.
Look the the first 5 modifiable risk factors: high blood pressure, lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity and smoking.
Can you do something about these?
The answer is simple and extremely meaningful in this case!
First, you have to ask the right questions before the simple answer becomes more evident.
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project