Study identifies steps to healthy living
Taking simple steps towards a healthier lifestyle can cut yourrisk of stroke by more than half, according to a study based on more than 20,000 Norfolk people.
Taking simple steps towards a healthier lifestyle can cut your
risk of stroke by more than half, according to a study based on more than 20,000 Norfolk people.
A study led by the University of East Anglia has found that smoking, not taking exercise, drinking more than moderately and failing to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day gives you a risk of stroke 2.3 times higher than any single factor.
Each of the four factors affected the risk in a linear way, so doing some of those things gave you a higher risk than doing none of them.
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The factors are already well known to influence heart disease, but there had been less study of their effect on stroke and very little on the combination of all four.
The study, published on BMJ.com today, involved 20,040 Norfolk men and women aged 40-79 who
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were taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Study (EPIC). Between 1993 and 1997, participants completed a detailed health and lifestyle questionnaire and underwent a thorough health examination by trained nurses. There were a total of 599 strokes during the follow-up period, an average of 11.5 years.
Strokes, which are bleeds or clots in the brain, are the UK's third biggest killer after heart disease and cancer. The estimated annual cost of caring for stroke is around �7bn.
There is already evidence to suggest that lifestyle behaviours like smoking, physical activity and diet can influence the risk of heart disease, but their impact on stroke is less well known.
Around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke every year and more than 67,000 die from them.
The study was based on people without a history of stroke, and
the results were adjusted for other stroke risk factors. Moderate drinking was defined as 14 units or less per week, and vitamin C levels
in blood were measured to tell
how many portions of fruit and vegetables participants were eating.