Overeating, Salt Are the Real Culprits in Stroke Risk

Fran Lowry, Medscape Medical News

The overall quality of a person’s diet and the balance between caloric intake and caloric expenditure appear to be more important determinants of stroke risk than the actual foods and nutrients consumed, according to a new review published in the January 2012 special issue of the Lancet Neurology.

In general, the two biggest threats to health and risk of stroke are overeating and excess salt, author Graeme J. Hankey, from Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, writes.

“These behaviors are a normal response by people to an abnormal environment,” Dr. Hankey notes. “Our living environments have become more conducive to consumption of energy and less conducive to expenditure of energy in developed and increasingly in developing regions.”

He writes that between 1970 and 2008, the incidence of stroke in high-income countries fell by 42 percent, probably as a result of increased public awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking.

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