Why Do Americans Have a High Risk of Stroke?

My friend Jeff died at the young age of 48 last year. His death came as a shock, but it didn’t really surprise me.  Jeff made bad lifestyle choices his entire life.

Jeff’s Health History

Jeff’s family had a bad history of heart disease with his own father dying at a young age one year after his retirement.  Jeff had a high school education and they didn’t prepare him with any meaningful advice on healthy lifestyle choices.  Jeff joined the U.S. Army and served with honor.  The U.S. military didn’t provide good guidance on healthy lifestyle choices beyond physical training.  I saw Jeff after he earned his Airborne wings and he was in the best shape of his adult life.  However, he also indulged in heavy drinking and smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day.  After his military stent, Jeff eventually ended up working for a major equipment company.  Although this was Jeff’s dream job, the company didn’t provide any help for Jeff and his health.  The last time that I saw Jeff, he was in his late 30’s and obese.  He had a stroke a few weeks before our meeting.  He never lost the weight or stopped smoking and he died of a heart attack at the age of 48.  Why is this happening to young adults?

Why are Young Americans Having Strokes and Heart Attacks?

Certainly, Jeff shares most of the blame for not taking personal responsibility for his own health and ignoring the weak messages on healthy lifestyle choices.  His family, schools, military, and employers all share some of the blame.  Of course, I also share some of the blame for not being a better friend and trying to get him to make better lifestyle choices.  I won’t let that happen again for my friends, family, and others.  I will continue to beat the drum of healthy lifestyle choices in hopes that I can prevent premature deaths and poor quality of life.  With that said, let’s talk about a new model that uses estimated blood oxidative stress (BLOS) level and age to predict your risk of stroke.

Analysis of Health Statistics for 2013-4

The table below uses data from a 2015 United States Health Report from the CDC.   The Healthy BLOS population is the fraction with a healthy BMI.  The Low BLOS population combines the Overweight and Obese populations, but subtracts the population with Type 2 Diabetes.  The Medium BLOS population is the Type 2 Diabetics.  I’ve also added Generational Descriptions in the left column, which is close to the actual age range.

US Population Breakout 2014
Compiled U.S. Population Health Data for 2013-4.

There are clear trends in the table with the Healthy BLOS percent dropping until late in life.  The Medium BLOS (Type 2 Diabetes) fraction increases after the age of 44.

Adjustment of Low BLOS Population to Predict High Cholesterol Populations

The following table provides the prevalence of High Cholesterol and Stroke for the different Age Groups of the U.S. Population.  After reaching the age of 45, the High Cholesterol fraction makes a major increase from 6.4% to 32.1%.  A marked increase in the prevalence of Stroke also increases as Americans enter middle age.  Is there a way to link the two BLOS sub-populations with this data?

US Population Breakout High Cholesterol and Stroke Prevalence
Prevalence of High Cholesterol and Stroke for US Population.

The Low BLOS sub-population represents a range of BLOS between 15-40%, while Medium BLOS sub-population represents a range of BLOS between 30-65%.  The minimum BLOS level that promotes Atherosclerosis is probably near the high end of the Low BLOS Range (~30).   So, a simple adjustment to the Low BLOS Population improves the agreement between the Predicted percent of the Population with High Cholesterol and the Reported percent.  Notice how the Assumed Fraction of the Low BLOS Sub-Population increases with the aging population.

Assumed Fraction of Low BLOS Sub-Population Promoting Atherosclerosis
The Assumed Fraction of Low BLOS Sub-Population and Predicted High Cholesterol Sub-Population for U.S. Population.

Estimation of Low and Medium BLOS Atherosclerosis Parameters

To predict the Stroke Rate for the different age groups, I made a few assumptions.  First, I assumed two different stroke rates of 0.0030 and 0.0070 for the Low BLOS and Medium BLOS sub-populations.  Second, I used the current age group sub-populations for Low (just the assumed fraction at the higher end) and Medium BLOS for older generations.  In other words, the Gen X age group was assumed to have a BLOS history identical to the current Gen Z and Millenial generations.  In this way, I could have several groups that have a BLOS history that changes over time.  Here are the predictions from my model compared to the reported Stroke Rate for the different age groups.  There is good agreement between the model and observed stroke rates.  My model is low in the Predicted Stroke Rate for the Silent Generation.

Predicted Stroke Rate versus Actual Stroke Rate for Different Age Groups
Comparison of the Predicted Stroke Rate and Reported Stroke Rate for Different Age Groups in the United States.

Individual Risk of Stroke

With these two Stroke Risk Parameters, a person could evaluate their own risk.  With your past BMI or diabetic state history, you could calculate your risk for stroke.

Stroke Risk =  (# of adult years at Low BLOS) x 0.0030 + (# of adult years at Medium BLOS) x 0.0070

So, a 50 year old person that had 20 adult years of Low BLOS and 12 adult years of Medium BLOS would have a Risk of Stroke of 14.4%.  Keep in mind that the Low BLOS years will only be a problem, if your BLOS level is near the high end of the Low BLOS Range.  How will you ever know whether your past lifestyle choices promoted Atherosclerosis?  High blood pressure could be due to Atherosclerosis, but Hypertension also contributes.  If your BMI was above normal and your blood pressure rising, then you’re at risk and you should take steps to stop Atherosclerosis.  Can this model help you, your friends, or family members? 

Stop Atherosclerosis NOW and Reduce Your Current and Future Risk of Stroke

If your personal Risk of Stroke worries you, then you should take steps to evaluate whether you have active Atherosclerosis.  Next, you should explore lifestyle choices that could reduce BLOS and stop Atherosclerosis.  Start by reading my eBook or Book that describes a new strategy to Hack Heart Disease.  After reading my eBook or Book, purchase the essential products of my BLOS Heart Disease Hack Kit.

BLOS Heart Disease Hack Kit

A new BLOS Heart Disease Hack Kit provides a way to evaluate BLOS and Atherosclerosis when making new lifestyle choices.  Effective dietary choices may halt the progression of atherosclerosis.  Stabilization of plaque maximizes the blood flow and reduces the risk of stroke or heart attacks.  Periodic checking of both BLOS and Cholesterol levels will ensure that you minimized your risk.

BLOS Heart Disease Hack Kit designed to lower your Oxidative Stress for Improved Heart Health


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