(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Making simple changes to your lifestyle could
dramatically decrease your risk of having a stroke, one of the leading causes of
death and illness across the world.
British researchers found people who lead unhealthy lifestyles are more than
twice as likely to suffer a stroke than those who eat and drink sensibly, do not
smoke and exercise regularly.
More than 20,000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 79 completed detailed
health and lifestyle questionnaires and underwent a health examination by
trained nurses. Participants scored one point for each of four healthy
behaviors: not currently smoking, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol
intake and blood vitamin C levels that indicated consuming at least five
servings of fruits or vegetables a day.
Participants could have a score between zero and four, with a higher score
indicating more protective behavior. They were then followed for an average of
11.5 years, and strokes were recorded using death certificates and hospital
After adjusting for other factors that could have affected the results, the
researchers said the risk of stroke was 2.3 times greater in those with a score
of zero compared to those with a score of four. They also discovered that the
risk of stroke increased with every point decrease in health behavior score. In
other words, those with a score of two were 1.5 times more likely to have a
stroke than those with a score of four.
The researchers said they hope their results will show people that small
differences in lifestyle may have substantial potential impacts on stroke risk.
SOURCE: Published on the British Medical Journal's Web site on Feb. 20, 2009