Study: More than 90 percent of strokes are preventable

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death globally, but it turns out a vast majority of them could be prevented, according to findings published July 15 in the British journal The Lancet.

According to the study authors, almost 91 percent of all strokes can be prevented through 10 healthy lifestyle changes and healthcare improvements.

This conclusion came from studying almost 27,000 participants from nearly every region of the world between 2007 and 2015. Among the more than 13,000 strokes observed, about 90.7 percent of them were caused by only 10 risk factors, including hypertension, lack of physical activity, poor diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, psychosocial factors and diabetes.

All of those risk factors can be controlled through better healthcare (blood pressure drugs, diabetes management) and changes in lifestyle (better diet, smoking cessation), meaning that the vast majority of all strokes can therefore be prevented.

Some of the risk factors that were found to be the cause of most strokes observed were lack of physical activity at 36 percent, poor diet at 23 percent and obesity at 19 percent.

What’s more, the results were consistent across geographical areas, ethnicities, ages and genders, said researchers, though the importance of some risk factors varied by region.

Based on this data, the study authors called for improved stroke-prevention programs. Better understanding and wider availability in healthcare could help prevent some of the leading causes of stroke, and public health initiatives could promote the lifestyle changes necessary to decrease stroke risk.