How to cut your risk of a stroke
So says the country’s leading charity for the condition on today’s Stroke Awareness Day.
It is launching a national campaign inspiring people to pledge to make one small change to reduce their risk of stroke and stop it being the fourth biggest cause of death in the UK.
New survey results from the charity found that only one in 20 UK adults think they’re at high risk. This is despite the fact that, in the UK, more than one in every five will suffer a stroke in their lifetime.
The research shows this may be because people don’t know what puts them at risk. Half of the country don’t know that high blood pressure is a top risk factor for stroke. Blood pressure is one of the biggest causes for stroke and 55 per cent of patients have high blood pressure when they have their stroke.
This is concerning because conservative estimates predict that as many as one in six adults have high blood pressure.
Nine in 10 strokes are associated with modifiable risk factors, elements of your lifestyle that can be changed to reduce your risk. According to the INTERSTROKE study, the world’s largest study of stroke causes, the modifiable risk factors that cause the most strokes in countries such as the UK are high blood pressure, high body weight and poor diet.
Losing weight, exercising more, reducing fats, sugars and alcohol intake plus quitting smoke are all recommended ways of reducing the risk of succumbing to a stroke.
The association’s chief executive Juliet Bouverie said: “A stroke happens in the brain, the control centre for who we are and what we can do. Stroke is the fourth biggest cause of death in the UK, but it doesn’t need to be.
“For those that survive, the impact varies depending on which part of the brain is affected. It could be anything from wiping out your speech and physical abilities, to affecting your emotions and personality. Many strokes can be avoided if you take action.
“When you don’t know your risk, you there’s no motivation to reduce it.
“Most people know that living a smoke free life, drinking carefully and eating healthily is good for you, but it’s clear from our research that people aren’t always sure why these are important things to do. If more people understood the benefits of making healthy changes, more people would act to reduce their stroke risk.”
For more on how to reduce that risk visit www.stroke.org.uk/PreventionDay to find out how.
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