Health Briefs

January 14, 2016

9 out of 10 strokes are preventable  

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, but studies show that 90 percent of strokes are preventable.

The ten risk factors for strokes are hypertension, physical inactivity, hyperlipidemia, poor diet, obesity, smoking, heart causes, diabetes, alcohol consumption, and stress. All are controllable and reducing them lessens the chance of having a stroke.

Harnessing this knowledge, several  medical institutes around the world  collectively known as INTERSTROKE  conducted the study with a sample  group of nearly 27,000 people from 32 countries. The data reveal hypertension is the primary cause of stroke.  Eliminating hypertension reduces  stroke risk by almost 48 percent.  Eliminating all ten causes would decrease the risk by 90.7 percent. This research confirms that changing  risky behavior is the most efficient  and sensible way to prevent stroke.


Loneliness may lead to heart problems  

A recent study in the British journal, Heart, finds that loneliness and social isolation may increase one’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers at the University of York, United Kingdom, reviewed 23  studies regarding the behavior of  sociability, which comprised a sample  of 181,000 adults. The study found  that over time people who felt lonely or isolated have a 29 percent increased  risk of heart attack and 32 percent  increased risk of stroke compared to  more socially active people. The risk was similar to that of light smoking or obesity.  
Medical opinion agrees that mental  health directly impacts physical  health, especially when it comes to  loneliness. Besides heart attack and  stroke, previous studies indicate  that isolation weakens the immune  system and causes hypertension.


Lack of exercise may shrink your brain  

Research published in Neurology this year points to a connection between  exercise behavior of middle-aged people and brain shrinkage in later years.  Researchers followed a sample group  of 1,100 people of average age of 40 for 20 years. Unfit middle-aged subjects showed decreased brain tissue volume in comparison to people with more active lifestyles.  

The sample group had no history  of heart disease or dementia, and all  subjects underwent a cardiorespiratory endurance treadmill test, neuropsychological testing and MRI brain scans. Previous studies indicated that moderate physical exercise correlated  with slower brain aging. New neurological testing technology – such as the brain scans – now proves it.

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