Healthy Lifestyle Important for Reducing Stroke Risk

Researchers have concluded recently that individuals who are following a healthy lifestyle had significantly lower risk of stroke as compared to those who have unhealthy habits, such as smoking and poor diet. They noted this this finding was regardless of genetic risk factors.  Their study focused on examining the relationship between a healthy lifestyle and stroke risk.  They outlined a healthy lifestyle to include the following four factors:  not currently smoking, healthy diet, BMI <30, and participating in moderate physical activity at least twice a week. The researchers found that individuals who had an “unfavorable” lifestyle, as defined by having 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factors, were at a 66% increased risk for stroke as compared to those with a “favorable” lifestyle, defined by having 3 or 4 healthy lifestyle factors.

Risk of stroke for those with an unfavorable, intermediate, or favorable lifestyle.

Risk of stroke for those with an unfavorable, intermediate, or favorable lifestyle.

High genetic risk for stroke, when coupled with an unfavorable lifestyle profile, was associated with twice the increased risk of stroke compared to those with a low genetic risk and a favorable lifestyle profile.  The researchers noted this finding is particularly important for men, who appear to be at a higher risk.  They noted that men with an unfavorable lifestyle had an 82% relative risk of a stroke as compared to 36% for women with an unfavorable lifestyle. The effect of smoking appears to be almost twice as strong as compared to the other lifestyle factors.

This study demonstrates the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, specifically not smoking, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and maintaining an appropriate weight.  The researchers note that while they cannot imply cause and effect through an observational study, their work emphasizes the important relationship between stroke and a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, these same four factors discussed have been found to lower the risk of heart disease.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing assistance with adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as those discussed in this study.  Additionally, we can help by providing specific education on the healthy lifestyle factors such as eating healthier, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources. :  Rutten-Jacobs, et al. (2018).  Genetic risk, incident stroke, and the benefits of adhering to a healthy lifestyle: Cohort study of 306,473 UK Biobank participants. BMJ; Healthy Lifestyle Trumps Genes for Stroke Risk – fewer strokes with good exercise and diet habits, despite high genetic risk.  Kate Kneisel, Medpage Today, Oct. 26, 2018.

Healthy Lifestyle and Risk or Coronary Disease

The effects of a healthy lifestyle for those with low, intermediate, and high genetic risk of a coronary event.

The effects of a healthy lifestyle for those with low, intermediate, and high genetic risk of a coronary event.

Research examining the relationship between genetic risk and coronary events has found that those with high genetic risk had a 91% higher risk of coronary events compared to those with low genetic risk. Additionally, they found that a favorable lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of coronary events as compared to an unfavorable lifestyle.  This finding was independent of the genetic risk of the individual.  The four healthy lifestyle factors outlined were not currently smoking, no obesity (BMI <31), physical activity at least once per week, and eating a healthy diet.  A “favorable lifestyle” was defined as having three or four of the healthy lifestyle factors while an “unfavorable lifestyle” was defined as having zero or one of the healthy lifestyle factors.

One of the significant findings from this study was the impact of a favorable lifestyle, particularly for those with high genetic risk.  They found that high genetic risk individuals who adopt a favorable lifestyle had a 46% lower risk of coronary events than if they had an unfavorable lifestyle.  This illustrates the impact that healthy lifestyle factors have on reducing the risk of coronary events.  Intensive lifestyle modifications should be targeted towards those at a high genetic risk. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to nutrition and exercise. Additionally, we can provide support for maintains a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of coronary events.


By Matt Lewandowski

Sources:  Khera et al., (2016).  Genetic risk, adherence to a healthy lifestyle, and coronary disease.  The New England Journal of Medicine, 375(24), 2349-2358. Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

Unhealthy Lifestyle and Working Night Shifts Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Increase in risk of Type 2 Diabetes based on unhealthy lifestyle score. Higher scores indicate more unhealthy lifestyle factors.

Increase in risk of Type 2 Diabetes based on unhealthy lifestyle score. Higher scores indicate more unhealthy lifestyle factors.

An unhealthy lifestyle and working night shifts is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Research continues to support the overall health benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as not smoking, having a healthy weight, a healthy diet ,and exercising regularly.  Researchers found that nurses working night shifts who also had an unhealthy lifestyle were at an increased risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.  Women with both of these factors were at an even greater risk, as compared to men.  Additionally, it was found that for every 5 years of rotating night shift work, nurses had a 30% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Adding an unhealthy lifestyle more than doubled the risk, making an individual 2.83 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.  They explained that an unhealthy lifestyle includes smoking, getting less than 30 minutes per day of physical activity, having a poor diet, and not maintaining a healthy weight (BMI >25).   Individuals with three or more of these unhealthy lifestyle factors were at an increased risk of developing the disease.

Shift work, particularly at night, has been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and certain types of cancer.  Furthermore, shift workers have higher rates of obesity and smoking.  Research has illustrated that the more years an individual spends on rotating shift work, the more likely they are to be smokers and have a higher BMI.  These findings are particularly important as 1 in 5 US workers have non-standard working hours.  Of this group, nurses make up one third of the population.  Most cases of Type 2 Diabetes could be prevented with an adherence to a healthy lifestyle.  These benefits are even larger for those who are rotating night shift workers.  It is important that those who are at a higher risk, particularly female night shift workers, establish a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce their risk of disease such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and cancer.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to establishing a healthy lifestyle.  Additionally, we can help by providing support for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Shan, Z., et al. (2018).  Rotating night shift work and adherence to unhealthy lifestyle in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes:  Results from two large US cohorts of female nurses.  BMI, 363, k4641; Night Shifts and Unhealthy Lifestyle combine to Up Risk of Diabetes. Liam Davenport, Medscape, November 23, 2018. Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash