Stroke: Living near green areas reduces your risk of the ‘medical emergency’ by 16%
Heatstroke: Dr Hilary gives his advice for sufferers
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Strokes are serious emergencies characterised by the need for “urgent treatment”. The good news is there’s plenty you can do to cut your risk of this condition, ranging from diet to exercise. What’s more, where you live might also play a role.
Stroke is considered to be one of the leading causes of death and disability, with 38,000 lives lost in the UK each year, according to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Furthermore, this medical emergency strikes more than 100,000 times annually.
Fortunately, there are ways that can “significantly” cut your risk of this condition.
New research published in the journal Environment International found that living near green areas also belongs on this list.
The study found that living near green areas could cut the risk of ischaemic stroke by a whopping 16 percent.
Considered the “most common type”, ischaemic stroke is triggered by a blood clot.
This type of stroke accounts for 85 percent of all cases, according to the NHS.
The study found this benefit among people who lived less than 300 metres away from a green space.
The researchers took into account information on exposure to three atmospheric pollutants associated with traffic.
They looked at more than 3,500,000 people in total, selected from the residents of Catalonia in Spain.
The participants were selected so they hadn’t suffered a stroke before the study.
The results suggest a direct connection between higher levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the atmosphere and the risk of ischaemic stroke.
In fact, for every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic metre, this risk increases by four percent.
The same happens when PM2.5 increases. In case you’re not aware, PM2.5 details damaging, minuscule particles that are invisible to the naked eye.
These particles can pass through your lungs into your body, where they can cause asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke and even lung cancer, according to the Taskforce for Lung Health.
Cathryn Tonne, a researcher at ISGlobal, said: “It should be borne in mind that, unlike other air pollutants, which have various sources, NO2 is mainly caused by road traffic.
“Therefore, if we really want to reduce the multiple risks that this pollutant poses to people’s health, we need to implement bold measures to reduce car use.”
In contrast, the study explains that having an “abundance of green spaces” within the same radius from your home directly reduces your risk of stroke.
Dr Carla Avellaneda, one of the main authors of the study, said: “People who are surrounded by greater levels of greenery at their place of residence are protected against the onset of stroke.”
The reason why green spaces are linked to a lower risk is thanks to a variety of mechanisms, such as stress reduction, increased physical activity and social contact, and even exposure to an enriched microbiome.
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