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Healthy Habits May Help Prevent Some Types of Stroke

Study of women finds that not smoking, moderate drinking, high-fiber diet could lower risk

MONDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Women who avoid smoking, drink moderately, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly may lower their risk of ischemic stroke, but not hemorrhagic stroke, according to a report in the July 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Tobias Kurth, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied lifestyle and stroke data on 37,636 women aged 45 or older involved in the Women's Health Study. The researchers found that there were 450 strokes among the women over the next 10 years.

Women leading a healthier lifestyle (17-20 health index points) had a lower risk of total stroke (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.45), and ischemic stroke (HR, 0.29) compared with women who did not have a healthy lifestyle (0-4 health index points). However, there was no association between a healthy lifestyle and hemorrhagic stroke (HR, 1.27). The researchers defined healthy living as having never smoked, consuming four to 10.5 alcoholic drinks weekly, exercising at least four times weekly, low body mass index and a high-fiber diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats.

"In this large prospective cohort of apparently healthy women, a healthy lifestyle consisting of abstinence from smoking, low body mass index, moderate alcohol consumption, regular exercise and healthy diet was associated with a significantly reduced risk of total and ischemic stroke but not of hemorrhagic stroke," the authors write.

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