Stroke risk less with healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle factors, such as stopping smoking and not being overweight, can reduce the likelihood of stroke, even in people with a genetically high risk.

Results of a major observational UK study show lifestyle factors that have the greatest effect are stopping smoking and keeping weight and BMI down. The other healthy lifestyle indicators are regular exercise and a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish.

Across all categories of genetic risk and lifestyle, the risk of stroke was higher in men than women and the risk of stroke was 35 per cent higher among those at high genetic risk compared with those at low genetic risk, irrespective of lifestyle. However, an unfavourable lifestyle was associated with a 66 per cent increased risk compared with a favourable lifestyle, regardless of genetic risk category.

BMJ, October 2018

First published: Dec 2018
Last updated: November 22 2018
Last science review: November 15 2018

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