Early factors predict later-life stroke risk, from the Harvard Health Letter

We tend to attribute strokes and heart attacks to genetic factors and adult behaviors. Yet there are some clues that the groundwork for cardiovascular troubles is laid early in life—perhaps even before birth, reports the February 2010 issue of the Harvard Health Letter.

Residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee are up to 50% more likely to die from a stroke than those who live elsewhere. This area has come to be called the Stroke Belt. Harvard researchers believe that early life influences, not just adult behaviors, help explain what is happening in the Stroke Belt.

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