Cut your risk of stroke in half, and then some: New study finds simple ways

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

A British study shows four healthy steps to cut our risk of stroke by more than half.

Every year 795,000 Americans have a stroke.  It’s our third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer.  The risk increases with age.  We can decrease our chances by keeping our blood pressure and cholesterol under control, but there’s more we can do to help even further.

The study followed over 20,000 men and women for 11 years.  Each participant was allotted one point for each of the following.

  • Did not smoke at all.
  • Drank one, but fewer than 14 alcoholic drinks (glass of wine, shot of hard liquor, ½ pint of beer) per week.
  • Ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Did some 30 minutes or more of leisure physical activity per day, or had a non-sedentary job.

The scoring breakdown was as follows. Compared to people who scored 4, those who scored:

  • 0 had 2.31 times the risk
  • 1 had 2.18 times the risk
  • 2 had 1.58 times the risk
  • 3 had 1.15 times the risk

I’m not really sure why they did the study this way, and the question begs, what role would cholesterol and hypertension play in the risks?

However, the take-away message is simple.  Small changes can make a big difference in decreasing the risk of the third leading cause of death.

By the way, do these risk factors ring any bells?  They decrease our risk of the first two leading causes of death as well.

Doctors and business owners: Send customized issues of James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor to your customers or patients. E-mail for details.

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4 Responses to “Cut your risk of stroke in half, and then some: New study finds simple ways”

  1. Sagan Says:

    There’s quite the difference in each of those risks. There’s so many factors here missing, like you’ve pointed out, but it definitely goes to show that when we start paying attention to those details we can really reduce our risk substantially.

    Sagans last blog post..Happy Birthday, Living Healthy in the Real World!

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks, Sagan. Wait till you see Friday’s post.

  3. James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor Blog » Blog Archive » Alcohol increases your risk of cancer: Confusing studies; what to do Says:

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    [...] Cut your risk of stroke in half, and then some: New study finds simple ways ( [...]

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