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Stroke News

90% of Stroke Burden Can Be Avoided
Sue Hughes http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/864732

New research looking at the risk factors contributing to stroke burden — the number of healthy life-years lost due to stroke — has shown that behavioral factors play a larger role than metabolic factors.

“Our study provides robust evidence of the very large contribution that behavioral risk factors make to stroke burden. These risk factors are avoidable,” lead author Valery L. Feigin, MD, from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, commented to Medscape Medical News.

“Poor diet, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise, et cetera, are responsible for more days of stroke disability than factors such as hypertension, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, et cetera. Our data show that stroke is definitely a disease of lifestyle, and as such a great proportion of stroke disability can be avoided. This is a new paradigm and has clear practical implications.”

The other major and unexpected finding of the study is the large contribution that air pollution makes to stroke burden,Professor Feigin said. “Our data show that air pollution is responsible for one third of stroke burden. We knew there was an association between air pollution and stroke, but we didn’t expect to see such a large effect,” he said. “This has not been studied before. A number of studies have looked at air pollution and risk of cardiovascular disease and seen quite strong evidence of a causal link, but in terms of magnitude of its contribution to stroke burden this is the first report.”