Individuals with a high genetic risk of stroke may find that a healthy lifestyle lowers their risk

In October 2018 researchers from Germany, UK and Sweden published the results of their study to assess the association between a genetic risk of stroke, a healthy lifestyle with the incidence of stroke. A total of 306,473 individuals, aged 40-73 years, were involved in the study. Having a healthy lifestyle was determined as being a non-smoker, consuming a healthy diet, a BMI of under 30 kg/m2, and regular physical exercise. During an average follow-up of 7 years, 2,077 individuals suffered a stroke (1541 ischaemic stroke, 287 intracerebral haemorrhage, and 249 subarachnoid haemorrhage). Results showed that both genetic and lifestyle factors were independently associated with individuals experiencing a stroke. A further analysis revealed that an unfavourable lifestyle (with 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factors) was associated with a 66% increased risk of stroke compared with a favourable lifestyle (3 or 4 healthy lifestyle factors): The association between lifestyle and stroke was independent of the individual’s genetic risk.

Rutten-Jacobs LC et al. Genetic risk, incident stroke, and the benefits of adhering to a healthy lifestyle: cohort study of 306‚ÄČ473 UK Biobank participants. BMJ 2018 Oct 24;363:k4168.

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