Healthy lifestyles can reduce female stroke risk by half



While most people are aware of the vast benefits adhering to a healthy lifestyle can provide, there are still plenty of individuals who continue to ignore recommendations for staying in shape.

While most people are aware of the vast benefits adhering to a healthy lifestyle can provide, there are still plenty of individuals who continue to ignore recommendations for staying in shape. Stroke continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and many of the risk factors, such as high cholesterol, being overweight and excessive tobacco use, are easily preventable. In addition to taking medications such as Lipitor, a healthy lifestyle will go a long way for those with stroke risks, and one study has emphasized how important staying in shape can be.

Details of the study
In a study published in the medical journal Neurology, researchers extensively analyzed how following habits that promote a balanced lifestyle can help decrease stroke risk by more than 50 percent. There were five distinct factors that colleagues determined to meet the qualifications of a healthy lifestyle, including:

  • A well-balanced diet
  • Avoiding tobacco use
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Staying physically active
  • Having a body mass index in the normal range

There were approximately 31,696 Swedish women with an average age of 60 who participated in the study. Each completed a 350-item questionnaire that focused primarily on diet and lifestyle. They were followed for an average of 10 years, and while the majority of the participants adhered to at least two or three of the healthy lifestyle qualifications, only 589 women secured all five criteria?, while 1,535 had accomplished none of the guidelines.

During the duration of the study, there were 1,554 cases of stroke that occurred amongst the participants. The researchers then analyzed how the risk of blood clots taking place in the brain decreased with each additional healthy lifestyle element. Women who followed the guidelines of a healthy diet were 13 percent less likely to endure a cerebral infarction, which blocks blood flow to the brain. In summation, those met the criteria of a healthy diet had a rate of 28 strokes per 10,000 women, while those with poor nutritional habits experienced a rate of 43 strokes per 10,000 women.

Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, a professor at the Karolinska Instituet in Sweden and lead author of the study, stressed how important the lifestyle choices we make, such as diet and exercise, play such a large role in the development of stroke.

"Because the consequences of stroke are usually devastating and irreversible, prevention is of great importance," Larsson said in a statement. "These results are exciting because they indicate that a healthy diet and lifestyle can substantially reduce the risk of stroke, and these are lifestyle choices that people can make or improve."

Make your lifestyle healthier
Changing up certain habits that have been a part of your daily routine for years is often easier said than done. But the truth of the matter is, the sooner you alter your lifestyle, the less likely you'll endure a stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, simply taking a brisk walk 30 minutes a day is just one of the many ways you can quickly start to improve your overall health. In regards to finding a stroke-friendly diet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend eating foods that are exceptionally low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol to help avoid stroke, and reducing your sodium intake is also essential.

These health guidelines are especially important if you've already experienced a stroke before. Making sure that you are sticking to your Lipitor prescription as instructed, in addition to adhering to these recommendations, could be the difference between a healthy life and an unfortunate trip to the hospital.