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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More