Air pollution causes about 30 percent of strokes throughout the world, according to data from a Global Burden of Disease study.
Worldwide, nearly 15 million people experience a stroke during their lifetime. Around 6 million of those people die and 5 million are left permanently disabled.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, which leads to drooping on one side of the face, muscle weakness on one side of the body, and speech impairment.
Data gathered from 1990 to 2013 suggests that 90 percent of strokes are linked to modifiable risk factors, like air pollution. The study’s statistics, however, do not differentiate between ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Researchers state that measures should be taken to decrease the chance of a stroke induced by a modifiable risk factor.
The ten leading modifiable risk factors for strokes are high blood pressure, low fruit intake, high body mass index (BMI), high sodium intake, smoking tobacco, low vegetable intake, high blood sugar, household pollution, and environmental air pollution.
Although pollution-related strokes are more prevalent in developing countries, it does not mean developed countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are immune to pollution-related strokes. The top five risk factors for strokes in the U.S. and the U.K. are high blood pressure, high BMI, low fruit intake, low vegetable intake, and smoking tobacco.
Researchers state that around 75 percent of strokes can be prevented by acknowledging and avoiding modifiable risk factors. Researchers recommend people be more aware of the risk factors, such as air pollution, high sodium and salt intake, and alcohol.
For more information or questions about strokes, please call 888-452-IRMC (4762) and schedule an appointment with IRMC Physician Group Neurology.