News / Health

Lifestyle Changes May Ease Heart, Stroke Risk

Lifestyle Changes May Ease Heart, Stroke Riski
X
July 15, 2013 2:01 PM
After someone has a heart attack or stroke, doctors usually recommend changes in lifestyle -- like losing weight, exercising or stopping smoking. A new study looked at people around the world to see if they followed their doctors' advice.

Lifestyle Changes May Ease Heart, Stroke Risk

Carol Pearson
After someone has a heart attack or stroke, doctors usually recommend changes in lifestyle - like losing weight, exercising or stopping smoking.  A new study looked at people around the world to see if they followed their doctors' advice.

We hear the message about how to live a healthy life so much, it's hard to imagine there's anyone who hasn't heard it.

"Heart disease is preventable," said Dr. Patrice Desvigne Nickens, with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health. "Healthy lifestyles can reduce risks."

Dr. Desvigne-Nickens said there are three key elements to living a healthy life. “Don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, exercise,” she stated.

Ignoring even one of these increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, the number one killer around the world.

So Canadian researcher Koon Teo at Ontario's Hamilton General Hospital wanted to see if people changed their lifestyle after one of these events. He followed patients in high, middle and low-income countries.

"People who had heart disease or stroke, about a fifth of them, still continued to smoke and only a third of people had regular physical activities," he explained. "Just about two-fifths of them ate what we determine as a healthy diet."

And it didn't seem to matter where they lived.

"The low-income countries had the worst diet, but if you look at people from high income countries, they did not do that much better," Koon Teo said.

Overall, only about four percent of the patients who participated in the study followed the recommendations.     

"All countries need to look at this finding to try to improve and close the gap about healthy living, particularly in people who had already had the stroke or a heart attack," Koon Teo added.

National and international efforts to get people to monitor their blood pressure and reduce salt consumption are gaining momentum.  Both reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke. In the U.S., Janet Wright, of the Million Hearts campaign, gives this advice.

"Make one small change to your health and do it daily," she asserted. "It could be adding a fruit or a vegetable.  It could be building your way up to 150 minutes of exercise each week."

The Cleveland Clinic has a program for its employees that has helped them lead healthier lives.

"The key is to start. Buy a pedometer [device that measures the number of steps someone takes], record it daily," explained Dr. Michael Roizen, Cleveland Clinc. "Try to walk 10,000 steps a day."

And if you take medication for high blood pressure, take it as prescribed.

"Every day of an uncontrolled blood pressure is damaging the heart, the kidneys, the eyes and all of the blood vessels putting the individual at high risk for heart attack and stroke," Wright stated.

These experts stress that the power to prevent heart attack or stroke is in your hands. Professor Teo's study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid