10 stroke risk factors can be modified

stroke factors

Managing the 10 factors responsible for the vast majority of strokes would reduce patient risks considerably, according to fresh Canadian research.

But how these factors are prioritised vary regionally, say researchers at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University.

The new research builds on the findings of the INTERSTROKE study, which identified 10 modifiable risk factors for stroke. In total, it looked at nearly 30,000 cases from 32 countries.

Risk factors

The risk factors cover all age ranges and both men and women. Hypertension was found to be the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions.

The drop in stroke risk by tackling or reducing the following would be:

  • Hypertension: 48% reduction in risk
  • Physical activity: 36%
  • Diet: 19%
  • Smoking: 12%
  • Cardiac causes: 9%
  • Diabetes: 4%
  • Alcohol: 6%
  • Stress: 6%
  • Lipids: 27%

Many of these are also known to be associated with each other, and when combined the total for all 10 factors is 91%.

Regional variations

Regionally, hypertension figures range from 40% in Western Europe, North America, and Australia to 60% in Southeast Asia.

An irregular heart rhythm is associated with stroke in all regions, but is of greater importance in Western Europe, North America and Australia, than in China or South Asia.

Dr. Salim Yusuf, who led the research, says the findings could inform the development of global population-level interventions to reduce stroke.

Such interventions could include better health education, healthy food strategies, avoidance of tobacco and more affordable medication.

The study was published in The Lancet.


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