Stroke: can a healthy lifestyle to reduce genetic risk

A stroke occurs when blood supply disturbances in the brain, causing the brain not getting enough oxygen. On the risk of stroke is influenced both by genetic factors and lifestyle of the person, but what’s more important?

According to the Centers for control and prevention (CDC), every 40 seconds one person in the United States suffers a stroke, and more than 795 000 people each year are faced with this condition.

Experts have identified a number of modifiable and not modifiable factors that affect the risk of stroke in humans. On the one hand, people may be predisposed to cardiovascular disease due to its genetic code. At the same time, numerous lifestyle factors such as Smoking or alcohol consumption, level of physical activity and diet also affect the risk of stroke. But what factors are more critical and how we can reduce the risk of stroke?

Scientists are finally ready to give an answer to this question, thanks to a new study, which was attended by experts from many prestigious institutions across Europe, including Cambridge University in the UK, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the German center for neurodegenerative diseases in Germany.

The results of the study, the lead author of which is Louis Ratten-Jacobs, was published in the BMJ. According to the authors, the results emphasize the potential of lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of stroke in the whole population, including people with high genetic risk.

What factors are important?

In the current study, the researchers analyzed genetic data 306 473 participants from the UK, which they have received from UK Biobank. All men were aged 40 to 73 years without a history of heart attack or stroke.

Researchers are looking for 90 variants in genes that are known to be associated with risk of stroke. In addition, they determined whether each participant in a healthy lifestyle, considering the following four factors:

  • Smoke or no party
  • If he adheres to a diet rich in fish, fruits and vegetables
  • Does he have a body mass index (BMI) below 30, which indicates the absence of overweight
  • If he performs physical activity on a regular basis

Then, during the middle of the seven-year period of observation, the researchers collected hospital records to identify cases of stroke. In General, they noted that from the standpoint of genetic risk and lifestyle men are more sklonny strokethan women. In addition, the risk of stroke was 35% higher among people with a high genetic predisposition compared with patients with low genetic predisposition, regardless of lifestyle choice. At the same time, people who led an unhealthy lifestyle, 66 percent higher risk of strokethan those who preferred healthy. The increase was the same in all categories of the genetic risk.

The authors believe that the most critical lifestyle factors that affect the risk of stroke are Smoking and overweight.

Finally, people who had a high genetic risk of stroke and led an unhealthy lifestyle, the risk of stroke was more than two times higher than peers with low genetic risk and healthy lifestyle. As the authors note in their work:

Reducing the risk associated with complying with a healthy lifestyle in this study was similar in all groups genetic risk, which emphasizes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for all people, regardless of their genetic risk.