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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
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Most British Women Unaware of Lifestyle Stroke Risks

Nov 12, 2008 - 6:20:57 AM , Reviewed by: Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
“People do not realise that by making very small lifestyle changes they can dramatically reduce the risk of having a stroke. For example, moderate exercise can decrease the chances of having a stroke by 27 per cent and by eating your ‘five-a-day’ you can reduce the risk by a quarter,”

Key Points of this article
40 per cent of all strokes could be prevented through the control of high blood pressure.
A stroke is a brain attack which causes brain damage. A stroke can be diagnosed by using FAST – Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Time to call 999. If any of these symptoms are present call an ambulance straight away.
 
Stroke
A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted. Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Some strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain from a burst blood vessel. When the blood supply is disrupted, parts of the brain become damaged or destroyed. Some strokes are fatal whist others can cause permanent or temporary disabilities such as paralysis to one side of the body and loss of the ability to speak, read or write. Recovery may be slow and can vary from person to person. Strokes can be prevented through lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet - particularly reducing salt intake, drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking and taking regular exercise
Epidemiology
Stroke statistics

* Each year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke

* Stroke is the third biggest killer and the leading cause of adult disability

* Of all people who suffer from a stroke, about a third are likely to die within the first 10 days, about a third are likely to make a recovery within one month and about a third are likely to be left disabled and needing rehabilitation

* At least 300,000 people in England are living with moderate to severe disabilities as a result of a stroke

* A stroke can happen to any one at any time. Around a quarter of strokes happen to those aged under 65, with around 1000 happening to those under 30

Source: The Stroke Association
[RxPG] A new survey, carried out by GfK NOP for UK charity The Stroke Association has revealed that 60 per cent of women don’t even know what their blood pressure is and 67 per cent are unaware what an ‘optimal’ reading should be. The survey also found that while more than a fifth of women surveyed had been prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, more than half of these said they did not take their tablets regularly, putting themselves at risk of death or disability from a stroke.

When asked about taking measures to protect themselves from a stroke, a second survey found that 83 per cent of the women did not know that lack of exercise increases the risk. Another 72 per cent of women did not recognise that a poor diet is a risk factor and 71 per cent were unaware that alcohol also increases the risk of stroke.

Joe Korner, Director of External Affairs, explains: “Many women will be blissfully unaware that they may have high blood pressure caused by the lifestyle choices they make. Regular, excessive drinking, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise mean that women are pushing their blood pressure to dangerous levels without realising it.

“People do not realise that by making very small lifestyle changes they can dramatically reduce the risk of having a stroke. For example, moderate exercise can decrease the chances of having a stroke by 27 per cent and by eating your ‘five-a-day’ you can reduce the risk by a quarter,” Mr Korner said.

As part of its drive to raise awareness, The Stroke Association is urging working age women to be aware of how their lifestyle impacts on the risk of having a stroke and to have their blood pressure tested regularly. An optimal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure is defined as a reading above 140/90mmHg. Blood pressure testing can be carried out at a GP surgery by the GP or practice nurse. However gyms and pharmacies can also carry out blood pressure testing.


Original research article: http://www.stroke.org.uk/document.rm?id=857 
Publication: Bosanquet, N. and Franks, P., Stroke care: Reducing the burden of disease, 1998, The Stroke Association.
On the web: NHS Direct Information on Stroke 

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 About Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in diabetes and endocrinology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at [email protected]
RxPG News is committed to promotion and implementation of Evidence Based Medical Journalism in all channels of mass media including internet.
 Additional information about the news article
GfK NOP interviewed 1000 UK adults aged 16+ between 26 – 28 September and a further 1000 UK adults aged 16 + between 31st October and 2nd November 2008. The surveys were conducted via telephone methodology using a quota sample. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative of all adults aged 16+ living in the UK
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