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Study finds that people at high risk for stroke can reduce their chances by making healthy lifestyle choices

B.R. Shenoy

Healthy assortment of vegetablesPhoto by Amanda Kirsh from Burst

"We can use genetic information to determine who is at higher risk and encourage them to adopt a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle, such as following the AHA's Life's Simple 7, to lower that risk and live a longer, healthier life," said Prof. Myriam Fornage, geneticist at the University of Texas at Houston.

Nearly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke each year. According to the Stroke Association, 1 in 8 strokes result in death within the first 30 days, and 1 in 4 strokes are fatal within the first year.

A person can suffer from two types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Both have the potential to be fatal. Receiving medical assistance (surgery or a tissue plasminogen activator drug) within the first three hours is critical for the patient's survival.

Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes are all risk factors for stroke. Another risk factor is a family history of developing a condition that cuts off blood supply to some parts of the brain when a blood vessel is blocked or ruptured.

Life’s Simple 7

Over 11,000 adults in the US were monitored for nearly 30 years for the results of a new study.

According to the Daily Mail, adopting just seven new habits every day could reduce the risk of stroke by up to 43%. They are known as "Life's Simple 7" and guard against Alzheimer's and heart disease as well.

The seven habits are:

  1. Adopt an active way of life
  2. Eat healthy meals
  3. Reduce weight
  4. Avoid smoking
  5. Mantain a normal blood pressure level
  6. Reduce cholesterol
  7. Decrease blood sugar

Final Thoughts

Numerous studies show that people who engage in physical activity every day, at least for a few minutes, are much healthier than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, the new findings should come as no surprise, at least regarding the recommendation to live an active lifestyle.

According to the same study, if you follow the seven lifestyle habits, you could add a few years to your life without having a stroke.

The results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association give hope for a potential screening program.

Visit UTHealth Houston for more information.

What are your thoughts on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7? Let us know in the comments.

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