A healthy lifestyle effectively protects against stroke, even if there is a genetic risk - healing practice

The role of lifestyle in stroke

A healthy lifestyle protects against strokes. Even though there is a genetically higher risk of stroke, a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle can reduce this risk by up to 43%.

A recent study involving professionals from the University of Texas attempted to estimate stroke risk based on genetic factors. In addition, it has been studied to what extent an optimal cardiovascular lifestyle can reduce this risk.

The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Heart Association".

Nearly 12,000 attendees

The study looked at 11,568 participants between the ages of 45 and 64. None had suffered a stroke at the start of the study. The team reported that the participants were medically followed for an average of 28 years.

The degree of a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle was measured in the study using the so-called Life's Simple 7 recommendations. These advise quitting smoking, eating healthy, getting enough exercise, reduce excess weight and keep blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar at normal levels.

The lifetime risk of developing a stroke was calculated in the study using a polygenic risk score. People with a higher number of genetic risk factors associated with stroke risk scored higher on the risk assessment.

Lifestyle changes influence genetic risk of stroke

"Our study confirmed that changing lifestyle risk factors, such as B. blood pressure monitoring, genetic risk of stroke can offset," says the study author. , Dr. Myriam Fornage in a press release.

It is also possible to use genetic information to determine which people are at higher risk of stroke. These individuals could then be encouraged to maintain a healthy cardiovascular lifestyle. This reduces the risk, allowing those affected to live longer and healthier lives.

In the study, participants with the highest genetic risk for stroke and the worst cardiovascular health had a 25% increased risk of having a stroke in their lifetime, experts report.

Up to 45% reduction in stroke risk

Regardless of genetic risk for stroke, participants with an optimal cardiovascular lifestyle had a 30 to 45 percent reduction in risk, the team said. This corresponds to a period of almost six additional years of life without a stroke.

The researchers point out that people who barely adhered to Life's Simple 7 suffered the most frequent strokes (56.8%). In contrast, participants who paid attention to the Life's Simple 7 observation had significantly fewer strokes (6.2%).

A limitation of the research work, however, is that the polygenic risk score used in the study has not been validated on a broad basis. Therefore, its clinical significance is not yet optimal. (as)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Emy A Thomas, Nitesh Enduru, Adrienne Tin, Eric Boerwinkle, Michael E Griswold, et al. : Polygenic Risk, Midlife Life's Simple 7 and Lifetime Risk of Stroke; in: Journal of the American Heart Association (published 7/20/2022), Journal of the American Heart AssociationUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston: Better cardiovascular health may partially offset increased genetic risk of stroke (published 20 /07/2022), University of Texas Health Sciences Center at HoustonRobert Koch Institute: AVC (as of July 30, 2020), RKI

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.