Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability according to a study just published on July 15th in the Lancet. The study identifies some key areas to target in stroke prevention. The researchers discovered that 10 controllable risk factors account for 90 percent of all strokes worldwide! The case-controlled study involved nearly 27,000 people from 32 countries. The study found that of these modifiable conditions, hypertension (high blood pressure) is most important.

Risk Factors Potential to Reduce Stroke Risk

  • Hypertension: 48%
  • Physical inactivity: 36%
  • Lipids (blood fats): 27%
  • Poor diet: 23%
  • Obesity: 19%
  • Smoking: 12%
  • Heart causes: 9%
  • Excessive alcohol use: 6%
  • Stress: 6%
  • Diabetes: 4%

The 10 risk factors above combined for 90.7 % of all strokes across all regions, age groups and among both men and women. The study authors noted, however, that the importance of various risk factors vary in different regions. For example, high blood pressure causes about 39 percent of strokes in North America, Australia and western Europe, but nearly 60 percent in Southeast Asia.