Exercise, weight, smoking all influence risk of stroke

Exercise, weight, smoking all influence risk of stroke (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - This weekend, you're invited to help fight heart disease and stroke by attending the annual “Heart Mini” for the American Heart Association on Sunday,

The Heart Mini is about raising awareness and money for research, but it's also a good time for everyone to remember that as much as 80 percent of your risk for heart disease and stroke may be influenced by the lifestyle choices you make.

There are five lifestyle choices that the American Heart Association says all of us should know about.

Thousands are expected to participate in the American Heart Association’s Walk or Run on Sunday. Among the events is a special “1K”.

“It is a way to celebrate stroke survivors, so the “1K Steps for Stroke” is a chance for some people who've never walked one kilometer since their stroke have a chance to get out and do that, it's a celebration of the work and energy that it takes to recover from a stroke,” said Dr. Brett Kissela, the Neurology Chairman at UC.

Dr. Kissela said that the goal is also to raise awareness that many strokes can be prevented with a few lifestyle habits.

His top five include:

  1. Moving more, with regular exercise
  2. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a plant-based diet
  3. Losing weight if you are above ideal body weight
  4. Bringing down your blood pressure, which new guidelines suggest should be about 120 over 80
  5. Quitting smoking

The really good news is that even if you can't do all of these at once, Dr. Kissela says studies show you reduce stroke risk with each one you reduce.

“Any little effort is better than none, so if you are a smoker, even cutting back is better than nothing, even a little walking you don't have to run a marathon, but just to do something, it’s some exercise, trying to eat a little healthier,” said Dr. Kissela.

With each one, the percentage of risk goes down as you change the habit.

You can still show up for the Heart Mini.

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