Sparing some time for exercise is as effective as drugs in preventing adverse outcomes in people with many deadly diseases, including stroke and heart disease, new research reveals.Maxwell GS/Flickr

About 90 percent of strokes are preventable, a study called INTERSTROKE conducted by the Mc Master University, Canada, has showed. The study analysed 27,000 people from various parts of the world.

A team of researchers led by Martin O'Donnell and Salim Yusuf of Mc Master University first identified the 10 major risk factors that lead to stroke — a condition characterised by trouble in walking, speaking and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. Stroke, also called cerebrovascular accident, is caused by interruptions in the blood supply to the brain. 

In its first phase, the study analysed 6,000 people across 22 countries to identify the risk factors.

"This study is of an adequate size and scope to explore stroke risk factors in all major regions of the world, within key populations and within stroke subtypes. The wider reach confirms the 10 modifiable risk factors associated with 90 percent of stroke cases in all regions, young and older and in men and women," O' Donnell , the lead author of the study, said, according to ANI. "The study confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally."  

The study found that high blood pressure was the culprit in a majority (47.9 percent) of stroke cases followed by the lack of physical activity (23.3. percent)  and poor diet (18.6 percent). Smoking accounted for 12.4 percent of stroke cases, followed by the alcohol consumption (5.8 percent). 

So what are the top 10 to-do things  that can prevent stroke by cutting down the risk factors.

    • Lowering blood pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension is a major cause of stroke
    • Exercising: A 20-minute walk or intensive strength training, anything that fits your time and resources is a must to stay physically active.
    • Eating healthily: Diet rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins is necessary.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight: An ideal Body Mass Index is a key to fight many diseases, including stroke.
    • Preventing diabetes: Diabetes, although a chronic lifestyle disorder, can be prevented by making simple changes in one's lifestyle.
    • Lowering cholesterol: Cutting down on foods loaded with oil, fats is essential to lower cholesterol.
    • Cutting down on alcohol: Alcohol consumption has also been tied to stroke, and hence cutting down on it may potentially prevent the medical condition.
    • Stopping smoking: "Smoking kills" warning should never be ignored as it leads to many major illnesses, including stroke.
    • Lowering stress: Stress is invariably linked to many medical conditions, including stroke.
    • Taking preventative medication for any heart condition: This has also been suggested as a preventive measure for stroke.

"It demonstrates that the majority of stroke is due to common modifiable risk factors.The study also confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and is therefore the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally," Salim Yusuf, the co-author of the study, was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.