Women can cut their risk of stroke by 50%

Created date

April 6th, 2017
Three women of varying ages.

Doing what you can today means a lower risk of stroke in the future.

Researchers from Sweden have found that when it comes to your health, lifestyle choices may count more than previously thought, especially if you are a woman who wants to protect yourself against stroke.

In the study published in the journal Neurology, researchers evaluated five healthy lifestyle factors of over 30,000 women. They included never smoking; no more than moderate alcohol consumption; having a body mass index of 25 or less; exercising for at least 40 minutes a day; and eating a healthful diet, including vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. After ten years, they found that women who met all five criteria had a 54% lower risk of having a stroke than women who met none of the criteria. 

Cerebral infarction

The correlation was found with strokes resulting from cerebral infarction, which is when a blockage in an artery interrupts blood flow and oxygen to brain tissue. Healthy lifestyle choices had no association with the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain), which accounts for about 20% of all strokes. 

Over 130,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to stroke, and over half of adults over 65 lose at least some of their mobility after having a stroke. Symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face or limbs, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, loss of vision, or a sudden and severe headache. 

Among the study participants, the stroke risk decreased with each additional healthy lifestyle practice. So doing what you can today means a lower risk of stroke in the future.