10 Risk Factors Associated With Most of Stroke Risk

Account for 90 percent of population-attributable risks for stroke internationally
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Worldwide, 10 risk factors are associated with 90 percent of the risk for stroke, suggesting that interventions targeting these particular factors could greatly reduce the stroke burden, according to a study published online June 18 in The Lancet.

Martin J. O'Donnell, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 6,000 individuals (3,000 acute first stroke patients and 3,000 matched controls with no stroke history) from 22 countries over three years to uncover the risk factors associated with stroke.

The researchers identified the following significant risk factors for all stroke: hypertension, current smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, diet, intake of alcohol, regular exercise, diabetes mellitus, psychosocial stress and depression, cardiac problems, and lipids. As a group, these factors accounted for 88.1 or 90.3 percent of the population-attributable risks for stroke, depending on the definition of hypertension used. All 10 factors were significant for ischemic stroke, and the first five were significant for intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke.

"Our findings suggest that 10 risk factors are associated with 90 percent of the risk of stroke. Targeted interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the burden of stroke," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, and Boehringer Ingelheim. Three study authors disclosed financial ties to these and other pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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