5 Lifestyle Factors Account for 80% of Stroke Risk

Eighty percent of stroke risk can be boiled down to 5 simple, modifiable lifestyle factors, according to a large international study published in the Lancet.

Eighty percent of stroke risk can be boiled down to 5 simple, modifiable lifestyle factors, according to a large international study published in the

Lancet.

At least 5 of the 10 primary risk factors associated with stroke can be linked to a patient’s lifestyle, according to a large study published in the June issue of the Lancet.

Researchers involved in the INTERSTROKE study evaluated 6000 patients, half of whom had experienced stroke. Patients resided in 22 different countries located in both high- and low-income regions. In all populations, high blood pressure was the most powerful indicator for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke risk.

Other important modifiable risk factors were smoking, abdominal obesity (as measured by waist-to-hip ratio), physical inactivity, and diet. These 5 factors, which accounted for 80% of stroke risk among the patients studied, belong to a longer list of 10 key factors that accounted for 90% of overall stroke risk, according to the study. These risk factors include:

1. High blood pressure

2. Smoking

3. Physical inactivity

4. Abdominal obesity

5. Poor diet

6. Blood lipid levels

7. Diabetes

8. Alcohol consumption

9. Stress and depression

10. Heart disorders

The findings underscore the need to carefully target public health campaigns on an international level to “reduce the global burden of stroke,” the researchers wrote. Pharmacists can support this effort by recommending simple changes—such as increasing physical activity or reducing salt intake—to patients who might be at risk as they counsel them on lifestyle modification and medications.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • As Population Ages, Opportunity Knocks for Pharmacists
  • Type 2 Diabetes Patients Lack Vitamin D, Study Shows
  • Medicare Waste Reduction Plan Draws NCPA Criticism