Health

 

Nearly all stroke risk preventable: study

cbc.ca | 06/22/10

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Read More: Blood pressure, Hypertension, stroke

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A Canadian-led study suggests about 90 per cent of the risk of having a stroke is preventable through lifestyle changes.

In Friday's issue of the Lancet medical journal, the international study suggests high blood pressure and nine other risk factors are associated with most of the risk of stroke.

Dr. Martin J. O'Donnell and Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University in Hamilton and colleagues analyzed data from 3,000 stroke patients and 3,000 controls without stroke of the same age and gender in 22 developed and developing countries from March 2007 to April 2010.

"Our findings suggest that 10 risk factors are associated with 90 per cent of the risk of stroke," the study's authors concluded.

"Targeted interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the burden of stroke," the study added.

High blood pressure was the most important for stroke, increasing the risk by 2.64 times, compared with having no history of hypertension.

The burden of stroke is not only a physical one, said Dr. Antoine Hakim, CEO and scientific director of the Canadian Stroke Network in Ottawa, which helped fund the research.

"When your brain is hit -- let me be blunt -- you're not the same person anymore. Perhaps what is obvious is you're not walking, you're not talking, but what is often not obvious is also you're not thinking and you're not able to function intellectually at the same level."

Hakim would like to see blood-pressure cuffs available in more places so more people would be aware of the silent killer that has many treatment options.

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