Stroke risks same, regardless of class, country

June 21, 2010 1:15:12 PM PDT
Ever since Delaware attorney general Bo Biden suffered a stroke, there's been much more attention given to strokes.

Looking at a comparison of 6-thousand cases from 22 countries shows just 10 risk factors linked to all strokes - whether they are caused by blood clots, or bleeding.

Researchers made their discoveries while working on the first phase of the three-year INTERSTROKE study.

The study included countries with low and middle incomes, and all cases completed a brain scan.

It included patients who had ischemic strokes, triggered by blood clots, and the hemorrhagic ones, caused by bleeding.

High blood pressure proved to be the most critical risk factor, then came smoking.

That doubled the risk of stroke.

Other dominant factors include high amounts of belly fat, a poor diet, and a lack of physical activity.

Researchers believe that encouraging people to lower blood pressure and quit smoking, along with regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet, could decrease the worldwide burden of stroke.