Last update:


Arch Hellen Med, 32(1), January-February 2015, 16-27


Nutrition as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease

G. Misirli,1,2 V. Benetou,1,2 P. Lagiou1,2,3
1Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, Athens,
2Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens,
3Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece

Stroke, of both ischemic and hemorrhagic origin, is one of the leading causes of mortality and disability worldwide, with severe consequences at the personal and socio-economic levels. This is a review of the main risk factors for stroke, which can be divided in modifiable and non-modifiable, with a summary of the scientific evidence accumulated from relevant studies on each of these risk factors. The non-modifiable risk factors are age, gender, family history, race and previous stroke or myocardial infarction. These factors cannot be changed, but their presence helps in the identification of people at high risk and intensification of efforts to modify those risk factors that can be changed. Modifiable risk factors include high blood pressure, use of tobacco, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, alcohol consumption, dietary factors, physical inactivity and others. This review also focuses on diet as a risk factor for stroke; on the separate food groups as well as dietary patterns, as recent increased research activity in this area has produced notable findings. Various risk factors increase the risk of stroke independently, but also interact with each other, increasing the risk even further. The detection and more efficient management of these risk factors in combination with improvements in acute medical care and advances in diagnostic imaging and treatment can play an important role in the decrease of stroke incidence and mortality.

Key words: Cerebrovascular disease, Diet, Risk factors, Stroke.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine