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Learning the risks for stroke -- and taking action
Date:10/23/2009

e shown that
  • high blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke; in the Framingham Heart Study stroke risk in people with measurements within the normal range was half that of those with hypertension(2)
  • smoking roughly doubles the risk of stroke (after adjustment for other risk factors)(3)
  • atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by around five times(4)

It is also clear that rigorous and regular physical activity reduces the risk of stroke. A study of walking and sports participation in 73,000 Japanese men and women showed that the risk of fatal stroke was reduced by 20-29% in those active in the highest category.(5) Similarly, in a study of 47,000 men and women in Finland stroke risk was reduced in those enjoying moderate and high levels of leisure-time physical activity.(6)

ESC Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention, which were updated in 2007, list stroke alongside coronary artery disease, heart failure and peripheral artery disease as cardiovascular diseases within the scope of prevention initiatives. The Guidelines distinguish between haemorrhagic stroke (around 15% of cases) and ischaemic stroke, but add that the cause of many strokes remains undetermined.

The Guidelines note that "antihypertensive treatment reduces risk of both ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke", and that "stroke prevention is still the most important effect of antihypertensive treatment". The Guidelines stress that smoking should be discouraged, and exercise encouraged.

With the Guidelines providing a firm evidence base, the ESC is now pursuing a new European prevention initiative as a joint effort from several European health associations in their combined battle against cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness, diabetes and kidney disease. In June this year experts from ten European chronic disease associations agreed to focus their initial prevention efforts against smoking, exces
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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