A new study has revealed that making small lifestyle changes could reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Researchers 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, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and don’t smoke.
“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,” Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., senior author and professor of medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington said.
Researchers divided the Life’s Simple 7 scores into three categories: zero to four points for inadequate, five to nine points for average, and 10 to 14 points for optimum cardiovascular health.
Researchers found that every one-point increase toward a better score was associated with an 8 per cent lower stroke risk.
Compared to those with inadequate scores, people with optimum scores had a 48 per cent lower stroke risk and those with average scores had a 27 per cent lower stroke risk.
A better score was associated with a similar reduced stroke risk in blacks and whites.
While black participants had worse Life’s Simple 7 scores than whites, the association of the Life’s Simple 7 score with stroke risk was similar in black and white participants.
“This highlights the critical importance of improving these health factors since blacks have nearly twice the stroke mortality rates as whites,” Cushman said.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.