Fighting Disease

Stroke risk for UK adults could be reduced through starting one small change

Stroke risk for UK adults could be reduced through starting one small change

UK adults could take steps to avoid having a stroke if more people knew the top risk factors for stroke and made one small change to their lifestyle, the UK’s leading stroke charity says.

Rotary Great Britain & Ireland have partnered with The Stroke Association to help launch a national campaign inspiring people to pledge to make one small change to reduce their risk of stroke and stop stroke being the fourth biggest cause of death in the UK.

Today is ‘Stroke Prevention Day’ and this year The Stroke Association is looking to raise awareness of the risks of strokes, and encourage people to make ‘One Small Change’ to their lifestyle. By pledging the change you would like to make on The Stroke Association website, you will receive guidance and support to help you stick to your One Small Change.

New survey results by the Stroke Association found that only 6% of UK adults think they’re at high risk of stroke. This is despite the fact that, in the UK, more than 21% of adults will have a stroke in their lifetime.

stroke prevention

A form of exercise every day can help to reduce your blood pressure and reduce the risk of a stroke.

The new research shows this may be because people don’t know what puts them at risk. 47% of the country don’t realise that high blood pressure is a top risk factor for stroke, and 55% of stroke patients have hypertension (high blood pressure) when they have their stroke.

This is concerning as conservative estimates predict that 1 in 6 adults have high blood pressure, but only 14% of people would focus on their blood pressure to reduce their stroke risk.

In the UK, more than 21% of adults will have a stroke in their lifetime.”

89% strokes are associated with modifiable risk factors, elements of your lifestyle that can be changed to reduce your risk. According to the INTERSTROKE study, the world’s largest study of stroke causes, the risk factors that cause the most strokes in countries such as the UK are high blood pressure, high body weight and poor diet.

However, knowledge of the top risk factors for stroke was low across the board:

  • 71% don’t realise weight is a top risk factor that can increase your risk of stroke.
  • 87% don’t realise that diet is a top risk factor that can increase your risk of stroke.

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive at the Stroke Association says, “A stroke happens in the brain, the control centre for who we are and what we can do. Stroke is the fourth biggest cause of death in the UK, but it doesn’t need to be. For those that survive, the impact varies depending on which part of the brain is affected. It could be anything from wiping out your speech and physical abilities, to affecting your emotions and personality. Many strokes can be avoided if you take action.

stroke prevention

A healthier diet or cutting out certain food can reduce blood pressure and reduce a risk of a stroke.

“When you don’t know your risk, you there’s no motivation to reduce it. Most people know that living a smoke free life, drinking carefully and eating healthily is good for you, but it’s clear from our research that people aren’t always sure why these are important things to do. If more people understood the benefits of making healthy changes, more people would act to reduce their stroke risk.

“The biggest thing you can do reduce your risk of stroke is to start by making one small change. We want to help as many people as possible to understand the personal risk of stroke and make that first, positive step to prevent having one. It can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time, but we know that people who take steps to reduce their risk are less likely to have a stroke.”

The survey found a lack of understanding about the risk factors that increase your risk of stroke, and a lack of information being accessed to help people reduce their risk.

73% said that they have had no information about stroke reduction recently. This rockets to 85% of over-65s, who are most at risk of having a stroke.

Visit the Stroke Prevention Day website to find out how you can make a change and reduce your risk of a stroke.