The 7 healthy habits that could cut your stroke risk in half

A study has found that sticking to seven healthy habits can cut your risk of stroke by nearly half.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Houston say that maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly can balance any genetic risk.

Other key steps include not smoking and losing weight.

Experts followed 11,500 middle-aged adults in the United States for nearly 30 years, watching how their lifestyle affected their stroke risk.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Houston say that maintaining a good diet and exercising regularly can balance any genetic risk

A University of Texas study today claimed that a healthy lifestyle can offset a higher genetic risk of stroke by up to 43 percent.  The graph shows: Risk of stroke at some point in people's lives over time for people who follow the Seven Habits (dark green), some (light green) or few (gray)

A University of Texas study today claimed that a healthy lifestyle can offset a higher genetic risk of stroke by up to 43 percent. The graph shows: Risk of stroke at some point in people’s lives over time for people who follow the Seven Habits (dark green), some (light green) or few (gray)

The habits, created by the American Heart Association, have been dubbed “Life’s Simple 7.”

Although listed at seven, only four are modifiable factors.

The other three — maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and lowering blood sugar — are side effects of staying healthy.

Strokes affect more than 100,000 Britons each year and claim 38,000 lives – making them the UK’s fourth largest killer and a leading cause of disability.

Approximately 800,000 people are struck in the United States each year, with 137,000 deaths.

Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes are known to increase the risk of stroke.

Another risk factor is a family history of the condition, when one of the vessels becomes blocked or bursts – cutting off the blood supply to parts of the brain.

What are the “seven simple living” habits that can reduce the risk of stroke?

  1. Maintain a good diet
  2. exercise regularly
  3. Do not smoke
  4. Lose weight
  5. Maintain normal blood pressure
  6. Cholesterol control
  7. Lowering blood sugar

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, tracked 11,568 adults between the ages of 45 and 64 with an average age of 28.

All participants were given a “polygenic stroke risk score” – based on blood tests that identified prognostic mutations associated with fatal events.

This assessed how likely they were to have had a stroke during their lifetime, based solely on their DNA.

Their medical records were also checked to see how well they followed the seven lifestyle habits.

The cholesterol level was lowered based on whether and how much lipid-lowering drugs – such as statins – were taken.

Blood pressure was also measured by the medications the subjects were taking, while blood sugar was measured based on whether they were being treated for diabetes.

Smoking status was recorded, BMIs showed body weight, diet was guessed by fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity was measured in minutes per week.

Participants with the highest genetic risk and worst heart health were the most likely to have a stroke over their lifetime, by about 25 percent.

But for those who practiced Life’s Simple 7, it fell by 30 to 43 percent, analysis shows.

After these practices also added nearly six more years of stroke-free life.

Overall, the healthiest group experienced the fewest strokes (6 percent) while it was the largest in those who followed the lowest habits (57 percent).

The findings offer hope for a screening program, according to Professor Miriam Foring, a geneticist at the University of Texas at Houston, who led the study.

She said: ‘Our study confirmed that modifying lifestyle risk factors, such as controlling blood pressure, can balance the genetic risk of stroke.

We can use genetic information to identify people at higher risk and encourage them to adopt a cardiovascular-healthy lifestyle, such as following the AHA Simple 7 lifestyle, to reduce that risk and live a longer, healthier life.

Stroke causes

There are two main types of stroke:

1. Ischemic stroke

An ischemic stroke — which accounts for 80 percent of strokes — occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel prevents blood from reaching part of the brain.

2. Stroke

More rarely, hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, flooding part of the brain with a large amount of blood while depriving other areas of an adequate blood supply.

It can be the result of an arteriovenous malformation or an arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal collection of blood vessels) in the brain.

Thirty percent of people with a subarachnoid hemorrhage die before reaching hospital. Another 25 percent die within 24 hours. 40% of survivors die within a week.

risk factors

Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, family history, and a history of a previous stroke or TIA (mini-stroke) are all risk factors for a stroke.

Stroke symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion and difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Sudden difficulty seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Results

Of the nearly three out of four people who survive a stroke, many have lifelong disabilities.

This includes difficulty walking, communicating, eating, and completing daily tasks or chores.

treatment or treatment

Both are fatal, and patients need surgery or a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours to save them.

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