Primary prevention of stroke by a healthy lifestyle in a high-risk group

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the impact of a healthy lifestyle on stroke risk in men at higher risk of stroke because of other cardiovascular diseases or conditions.

Methods:

Our study population comprised 11,450 men in the Cohort of Swedish Men who had a history of hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart failure, or atrial fibrillation. Participants had completed a questionnaire about diet and lifestyle and were free from stroke and ischemic heart disease at baseline (January 1, 1998). We defined a healthy lifestyle as a low-risk diet (≥5 servings/d of fruits and vegetables and <30 g/d of processed meat), not smoking, ≥150 min/wk of physical activity, body mass index of 18.5 to 25 kg/m2, and low to moderate alcohol consumption (>0 to ≤30 g/d). Ascertainment of stroke cases was accomplished through linkage with the National Inpatient Register and the Swedish Cause of Death Register.

Results:

During a mean follow-up of 9.8 years, we ascertained 1,062 incident stroke cases. The risk of total stroke and stroke types decreased with increasing number of healthy lifestyle factors. The multivariable relative risk of total stroke for men who achieved all 5 healthy lifestyle factors compared with men who achieved 0 or 1 factor was 0.28 (95% confidence interval 0.14–0.55). The corresponding relative risks (95% confidence interval) were 0.31 (0.15–0.66) for ischemic stroke and 0.32 (0.04–2.51) for hemorrhagic stroke.

Conclusions:

A healthy lifestyle is associated with a substantially reduced risk of stroke in men at higher risk of stroke.

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