American women are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than European women. The news is even worse for the guys. Men are 61% more likely to have a stroke than their European counterparts. Why?
Because 3 + 3 = sick. Really sick.
Americans have been becoming less healthy with each economic uptick. The same pattern has been observed in emerging economies like India. It appears sickness quickly follows on the heels of prosperity. As people become more affluent, they use their wealth to buy their ways into increasingly unhealthy lifestyles.
For Americans, five of the six stroke risk factors fall under the lifestyle choice banner.
A study by researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, points to six critical factors in the discrepancy in stroke rates between Americans and Europeans. The first three are barriers to health care, bad habits, and poor diets. The next trio of health hazards consists of the preventable risk factors of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Combine the six risk factors and you have a surefire recipe for more strokes.
The researchers note that Europeans have a more proactive prevention orientation than Americans. Whereas Americans tend to seek relief from medications, the European medical community is more likely to advise an increase in fruits and vegetables, and other healthy lifestyle changes.
The current study results show it's good advice.
Brace yourself - "Americans have a few things they can learn from Europeans." Gasp! Yes, it certainly goes against the we-know-everything-there-is-to-know mentality of many Americans. But, consider: over 6 million people die each year from strokes, and most are from developed countries. Hmm... Maybe we do have a thing or two - or even six - to learn.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To learn more about strokes, including risk factors and prevention, see this from the National Stroke Association.