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Study identifies 10 risk factors linked to 90% of strokes

Ten risk factors are associated with 90% of strokes, according to preliminary findings from a study presented for the first time this week at a major conference. 

INTERSTROKE, completed in March, is the largest international study ever to evaluate the importance of risk factors for stroke and included over 27,000 patients from 32 countries.

The 10 key risk factors it identified are – hypertension, lipids, smoking, inactivity, abdominal obesity, cardiac causes, diet, alcohol, diabetes and psychosocial factors. Of these, hypertension is the most important.

“The study represents an important resource to progress our understanding of the causes of stroke,” according to the research team led by Dr Martin O’Donnell and Dr Salim Yusuf from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario.

The preliminary findings of the INTERSTROKE study were presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Melbourne, Australia, which is being held by the World Heart Federation.

It builds on the findings of the earlier INTERHEART study, led by Dr Yusuf, which focused on heart attack risk factors.

Dr O’Donnell said: “The INTERSTROKE study represents an important resource to progress our understanding of the causes of stroke, both in estimating the contribution of known modifiable risk factors for stroke and in identifying and clarifying the role of new ones, such as genetics.


Martin O’Donnell

“These results are the completion of eight years of work and, on behalf of the Interstroke group, we are delighted to share them with colleagues from around the world today in this preliminary analysis.”

He added: “We especially look forward to sharing our full data results later this year and continuing to collaborate with colleagues globally to fight the battle against stroke, which is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.”

  • Late-breaking clinical trial: regional variations in importance of risk factors for stroke: results from INTERSTROKE study including over 27,000 individuals from 31 countries


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