A health study from the McMaster University shows that the ten risk factors that are responsible for 90% of the strokes worldwide can be controlled.
Stroke prevention is one of the major public health priorities. The authors of the study explain that each strategy should be adapted to the local specifications.
The cerebrovascular accidents involve a poor flow of blood to the brain which results in cell death. The condition is a leading cause of mortality in developing countries.
There are two types of strokes that have a higher rate of occurrence. The first one is the ischaemic stroke, involving blood clots, and the second is the hemorrhagic stroke that provokes a bleeding inside the brain. From all the cerebrovascular accidents, the ischaemic ones have a prevalence of 85%.
The study involved an international collaboration with research institutes from 32 countries. The scientists identified ten major factors in strokes, based on 6,000 case studies. The project is a part of the INTERSTROKE program, which seeks to discover the causes of cerebrovascular accidents in different populations.
The ten factors have been connected with 90% of all the stroke cases in every region of the study, in both men and women, and equally distributed among older and younger people. Hypertension is the most important condition that influences stroke. Moreover, hypertension can be kept under control, which means it is a modifiable factor.
Hypertension is responsible for 48% of the cerebrovascular accidents. Physical activity would cut the risk to 36%, and healthy diets could diminish the risk with 19%.
Smoking, heart conditions, diabetes, alcohol intake, stress, and lipids are also modifiable factors that can be controlled in order to cut down the risk of stroke.
These factors are known to have the capacity of influencing each other, as most people affected by diabetes are most of the time obese or have weight problems.
The study showed that there are important differences among regions. In Southeastern Asia, the importance of hypertension is 60%, with twenty percents higher than in the rest of the world. Also, alcohol consumption leads to an increased risk for stroke in Africa and South Asia. Physical inactivity proved to be most dangerous in China.
However, the study showed that when all the factors were taken into consideration, the impact was similar in all countries. The explanation would be that the conditions that influence strokes are the same everywhere, as the human body functions do not change from one country to another.
Better health education, affordable medication, tobacco avoidance could be the most effective measures to be taken to control the ten risk factors for stroke.
The authors of the study recommend the implementation of regional prevention programs that could cut down stroke fatalities in all countries, as the medical condition depends on factors that can easily be controlled on a national scale.
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