This is an excellent article from Thistlecreek Home Care and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Great words of advice to prevent strokes.
1.3 million Canadians are currently living with heart disease. Considering the fact, we cannot ignore the potential effects of a stroke. More than 400,000 Canadians are living with long-term stroke disability. Far too many individuals are suffering from a condition that in many ways, is preventable.
Based on a new study, it appears that nine out of ten strokes are preventable. Although risk factors are nothing new, these startling numbers may help motivate individuals to make fundamental lifestyle changes before they suffer from a potentially fatal stroke.
Canadian Researchers Highlight Key Stroke Risk Factors
As reported by Canadian Researchers, it’s been estimated that 9 out of 10 strokes around the globe may be caused by the following key risk factors, many of which you can avoid:
· Excessive alcohol consumption
· Heart problems
· High cholesterol
· High blood pressure
· Lack of exercise
· Poor diet
Within this study, published in The Lancet, the lifestyles of people who had a stroke, as well as those who they did not examine. They observed a total of 27,000 participants, from 32 countries. Currently, stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, especially among low and middle-income countries.
Of those cases, the two major types of stroke include ischemic stroke which is caused by blood clots — accounting for 85 percent of strokes. The second major type caused by bleeding in the brain is a hemorrhagic stroke which — accounting for around 15 percent of strokes.
Conducted at McMaster University, collaborators from all 32 countries took part, building on findings from the first phase of the INTERSTROKE study, which first identified the ten modifiable stroke risk factors mentioned above. These primary risk factors account for 90 percent of all stroke cases across all regions.
At this time, the key objective is to reduce the burden of stroke on a global level. Although each risk factor can play a significant role, hypertension was found to be the most important modifiable risk factor across all regions. While further examining the different risk factors, the researchers determined how each would influence the proportion of strokes if they were to disappear hypothetically.
If we eliminated hypertension, strokes would be cut by 48 percent. Cut by 36 percent if people were more physically active. The healthier diet would trim it by 19 percent. Cut back by 12 percent if no one smoked. 9 percent for heart causes. 4 percent for diabetes. 6 percent for alcohol. 6 percent for stress. And 27 percent for lipids (accounting for total cholesterol).
In many ways, these risk factors are associated with one another. Obesity and diabetes are related. Just as poor diet and a lack of physical activity influence heart problems. Once all risk factors were combined and hypothetically eliminated, it was found that we would avoid 91 percent of strokes.
These findings were similar across all regions, age groups, and in both men and women. A particular territory displayed varying importance regarding key risk factors. For instance, the risk of alcohol was lowest in Western Europe, Australia, and North America, but highest in South Asia and Africa.
Based on their findings, researchers would like to create global interventions to reduce stroke, tailoring to the needs of specific regions. It will include better health education, the avoidance of tobacco, more affordable healthy food, and greater availability of hypertension medication.
The key takeaway message here is that stroke is a highly preventable disease that has continuously affected the global population. Regardless of age and sex, there are preventable measures that can be taken across varying regions, helping to save countless lives.
With this information, organizations, governments, and, of course, individuals, could take proactive measures against this global burden. It’s important to make changes now before you feel as though you truly need to. Eliminating all ten risk factors is essentially within your control. For more information and preventable tips, please visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Matt Del Vecchio is a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA). He is the founder and president of Lianas - a company specializing in retirement residence search and senior transition support.