High Blood Pressure: The Most Important Stroke Risk Factor You Can Control

nurse taking womans blood pressureBelieve it or not, having a stroke, also called cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is preventable. In fact, 9 out of 10 strokes are preventable, according to a new study. Researchers discovered that 10 controllable risk factors account for 90 percent of all strokes worldwide. The #1 preventable risk factor? High blood pressure (hypertension), a condition affecting 1 in 3 African Americans.

The study, published July 15 in The Lancet, involved nearly 27,000 people from every continent and confirmed that HBP, which damages arteries so they burst or clog more easily, is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions.

READ: Why Are Blacks More Likely To Die From Stroke?

“This study is of an adequate size and scope to explore stroke risk factors in all major regions of the world, within key populations and within stroke subtypes,” said study co-leader Dr. Martin O’Donnell, an associate clinical professor in the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and the HRB-Clinical Research Facility in Galway, Ireland, in The Lancet.

African Americans, according to the National Stroke Association, are more impacted by stroke than any other racial group. In fact, strokes happen earlier in African Americans and we are twice as likely to die from stroke than Caucasians.

Researchers ranked specific risk factors to determine the impact each had on the risk for stroke. Unsurprisingly, eradicating high blood pressure was estimated to reduce stroke risk by nearly 48 percent.