Harvard Women's Health Watch

Study shows how combining healthy practices can reduce stroke risk

It isn't news that five lifestyle factors—following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, controlling weight, never having smoked, and drinking alcohol in moderation—can reduce your risk of stroke. However, a report from Sweden in the Nov. 4, 2014, issue of Neurology has shown that combining healthy habits may reduce your risk even further.

Researchers analyzed answers from questionnaires from 31,696 women with an average age of 60 who were free of heart disease and cancer when they entered the study in 1998. They determined how many of the healthy factors each woman had. They followed the participants until 2008. During that period there were 1,554 strokes.

Then the researchers compared women who'd had a stroke to women who hadn't. Having one factor was associated with a reduction in stroke risk of 28%; two, with 33%; three, with 43%; four, with 46%; and five, with 62%.

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