According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, “over 50,000 Canadians experience strokes each year. That’s one stroke every 10 minutes”.
For the entire month, the team and I will be posting scientific studies, as well as helpful tidbits in relation to stroke, obesity and preventative measures you can take to decrease your chance in being one of the 50,000 Canadians.
Study shows there is a well described link between obesity and stroke that can be directly linked to an increased risk of co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol and sleep apnea. All of these health issues increase the risk of stroke in addition to other forms of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks.
In addition, the study referenced a clear relationship between increasing BMI and the incidence of stroke. Although the study doesn’t show a steep relationship between obesity and type II diabetes, there is an obvious relationship.
Of all the co-morbidities, high blood pressure is likely the most important health issue leading to strokes. Having excess weight and being physically inactive are both risk factors for high blood pressure. You can minimize your risk of stroke by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active on a regular basis. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week. Make a goal of getting 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 times a week and keep your body moving.
It is very encouraging that research studies have shown that the sustained reduction in weight achieved with Lap-Band surgery can decrease the risk of having a stroke. The good news is that the risk of stroke can be decreased or reversed with Lap-Band surgery.
The link between obesity and stroke is not limited to adults. Numerous studies have shown that obesity in children and adolescents increases the long-term higher risk for a number of chronic health conditions including stroke as well as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. BMI in late adolescence is an important predictor of stroke and other heart disease in their adult life.