Healthy Lifestyle Important for Reducing Stroke Risk

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

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

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.

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.

Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors can Increase Life Expectancy

Healthy lifestyle behaviors have been found to increase the life expectancy of those who adopt them.  Specifically, adopting the following five behaviors mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life:  healthy diet, maintaining healthy weight, do not smoke, drinking alcohol in moderation, and regular exercise.  Researchers found that each single lifestyle behavior adopted will help the individual live longer and better.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

Life expectancy of males/females with zero healthy lifestyle factors compared to those with all five healthy lifestyle factors.

A healthy diet, one of the lifestyle behaviors, can be defined as one that is high quality.  Specifically, individuals are encouraged to reduce added sugar, refined grains, and highly processed foods.  A healthy diet also includes increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. Researchers emphasized the lifestyle behavior of maintaining a healthy weight, specifically a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.  They explain that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight. Adopting the lifestyle behavior of not smoking can have several health benefits for the individual including reduced risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, improved lung function, and reduced risk of lung, mouth, and throat cancers.  Researchers encourage individuals to drink alcohol in moderation, which is defined as 2 glasses of wine per day for males and 1 glass of wine per day for females.  A healthy lifestyle behavior of exercising regularly in encouraged.  This includes at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, which might include walking, jogging, biking, or other exercise activities.

Researchers have identified these five healthy lifestyle behaviors as important for living a longer and better life.  Specifically, adopting these five behaviors during mid-life (age 50) can potentially add up to 10 years onto your life expectancy.  Each single behavior adopted will have positive effects on an individual’s health and can help add years onto their life.  Additionally, it is never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Adopting these behaviors mid-life was found to increase life expectancy.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing education on these various behaviors and how they can be incorporated into an individual’s life.  We can assist by collaborating to identify health goals and by providing continued support for your health.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources: Li et al. (2018). Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Circulation, 137(23); Gardner, C., Trepanowski, J., & Del GobboL., et al. (2018). Effects of Low-Fat vs. Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association with Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion. JAMA, 319(7), 667-679; Fact Sheet About Healthy Benefits of Smoking Cessation. World Healthy Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/; Start Active, Stay Active. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011