Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death in Western countries. Because few efficient therapies exist, prevention remains the best approach. Obesity in middle-aged men can have a significant impact on stroke risk, doubling its likelihood later in life, according to a new study.
7,402 healthy men from Sweden between ages 47 and 55 were followed for 28 years. Fatal and non-fatal incidences of stroke were recorded by using the Swedish National Register on Cause of Death and the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry.
According to the study, 873 first strokes were recorded. Men who started the study with a body mass index of between 20 and 22.49 were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke than those who started with a BMI of more than 30. No significant association was found between BMI and risk for hemmorhagic stroke. Researchers say the extended follow-up period of the study made it possible to show a link between obesity at middle age and an increased stroke risk later in life.
Researchers conclude saying that it is not enough to just treat hypertension and diabetes to prevent stroke but obesity should also be considered a risk factor.