50+ health * Healthy living

New year stress adds to stroke risk

New year stress increases stroke risk Women more stressed than men

Around one in ten men and one in five women are "extremely stressed" at the start of the new year, according to a new survey.

Experts say that rising stress contributes to an increased risk of blood pressure, the biggest risk factor for stroke. Other risk factors include poor diet and lack of exercise.

Nearly a fifth of the 2000 adults surveyed admitted to never exercising, with a similar number managing only 30 minutes of exercise once a week.

And over a quarter of middle aged men and women (ages 45 to 54) said they never exercise despite reporting the highest levels of stress across all age groups in the UK - as nearly half described themselves as more than "moderately stressed."

The survey also revealed that 40 per cent of the British public are not aware of the link between exercise and stroke prevention.

Stroke is the biggest killer in the UK, after heart disease and all cancers. Each year around 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK, and over 60,000 die from one. It is also the biggest cause of disability. More than 300,000 people in the UK now live with moderate to severe disabilities due to strokes.

James Beeby from the Stroke Association, said: "The research is incredibly worrying and emphasises the need for the public to be aware of the dangers of stroke.

"Stroke is the UK’s third biggest killer and we’d encourage as many people as possible to take part in Stroke for Stroke week and help to raise awareness as well as vital funds. It is imperative that people take regular exercise and modify their diet to reduce the risk of suffering a stroke".

The study was undertaken by the Stroke Association in conjunction with Siemens, to mark Stroke for Stroke week (24 - 30 January 2011), which aims to raise awareness of the condition.

This article was published on Wed 5 January 2011

Image © James Steidl - Fotolia.com

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