A new study claims that seven healthy habits can halve the risk of a life-threatening stroke.
And researchers at the University of Texas at Houston say that following these healthy habits can cut your risk of stroke by almost half.
These seven habits include quitting smoking, being physically active, eating right, losing weight, maintaining normal blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar.
The researchers explain that maintaining a good diet and regular exercise can balance out any genetic risk.
Experts followed 11,500 adults in the United States aged 45 to 64 for nearly 30 years, observing how their lifestyle affected stroke risk.
These habits, created by the American Heart Association, are called the Seven Simple Rules of Life.
Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and diabetes are known to increase the risk of stroke. The biggest risk factor is a family history of the disease.
All participants were assigned a “polygenic stroke risk score” based on blood tests that identified predictive mutations associated with deaths.
This estimated the lifetime chance of having a stroke based solely on their DNA.
The researchers also checked their medical records to see how well they followed the seven lifestyle habits.
They rated lower cholesterol levels based on whether and how much they took lipid-lowering drugs like statins. The team measured the participants’ blood pressure with the medications they were taking, and their blood sugar levels were measured based on whether they were treated for diabetes.
Smoking status, BMI and body weight were recorded, diet was guessed using a fruit and vegetable intake questionnaire, and physical activity was measured in minutes per week.
Participants with the highest genetic risk and the worst heart health were the most likely to have had a stroke in their lifetime, about 25%.
But for those who adhered to Life’s Simple 7, the risk dropped by 30-43%, analysis shows.
The researchers noted that these methods added nearly six more years of stroke-free life.
Overall, the healthiest group experienced the fewest strokes (6%), while the group with the fewest habits experienced the most strokes (57%).
“Our study confirms that changing lifestyle risk factors can balance the genetic risk of stroke,” said University of Texas geneticist Professor Miriam Foring, who led the study.
Source: Daily Mail