Various lifestyle factors have been associated with increasing the risk of stroke. These include lack of exercise, alcohol, diet, obesity, smoking, drug use, and stress. Guidelines endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health recommend that Americans should exercise for at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Recent epidemiologic studies have shown a U-shaped curve for alcohol consumption and coronary heart disease mortality, with low-to-moderate alcohol consumption associated with lower overall mortality. High daily dietary intake of fat is associated with obesity and may act as an independent risk factor or may affect other stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiac disease. Homocysteine is another important dietary component associated with stroke risk, while other dietary stroke risk factors are thought to be mediated through the daily intake of several vitamins and antioxidants. Smoking, especially current smoking, is a crucial and extremely modifiable independent determinant of stroke. Despite the obstacles to the modification of lifestyle factors, health professionals should be encouraged to continue to identify such factors and help improve our ability to prevent stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine