(NaturalNews) Vascular injury, especially the type inflicted as a result of a stroke, can have a devastating effect on the quality of a person's life and place them at significantly increased risk of death. Similar to other chronic illnesses, stroke risk can be modified by making small changes to diet, physical activity level, smoking, blood pressure and blood glucose readings. In fact, researchers have found that paying more attention to how we live on a daily basis can reduce the risk of falling victim to a stroke or untimely death by close to 50 percent.
A group of researchers at the University of Vermont have published the result of their findings regarding lifestyle and stroke risk in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke. The scientists assessed stroke risk using the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 health factors: Be active, control cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, manage blood pressure, don't smoke, control blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight, and found that making small lifestyle changes could dramatically reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Scientists determine that reducing blood pressure is the most critical factor in lowering stroke risk
Team leader, Dr. Mary Cushman noted "We used the assessment tool to look at stroke risk and found that small differences in health status were associated with large reductions in stroke risk." To conduct their study, the team reviewed information on 22,914 black and white Americans, aged 45 and older who were participating in a nationwide population-based study called the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS).
Each participant was scored using the AHA's Life's Simple 7 assessment system, and broken into three categories: Zero to four points for inadequate, five to nine points for average, and 10 to 14 points for optimum cardiovascular health. Based on these results, the researchers found that every one-point increase toward a better score was associated with an 8 percent lower stroke risk. Further, people with optimum scores had a 48 percent lower stroke risk and those with average scores had a 27 percent lower stroke risk.
Over the course of the five-year study period, 432 participants experienced a stroke. While all seven lifestyle factors contributed to stroke risk, the team found that having ideal blood pressure was the most important indicator. Dr. Cushman concluded "Compared to those with poor blood pressure status, those who were ideal had a 60 percent lower risk of future stroke." Stroke is the fourth leading killer each year in the U.S., affecting nearly 800,000 people. Small modifications to the seven identified lifestyle factors can dramatically lower your risk of stroke today and in the future.
About the author: John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.