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What Changed to Cause Such a Spike in Stroke Rate?

By Marcus Santer

Yesterday I wrote about stroke.

I shared recent data that shows good and bad news since the year 2000:

  1. Good = The overall stroke rate and the number of people dying from stroke in the UK has dropped.
  2. Bad = There’s been a sharp rise in the stroke rate in the 40-54 year old group.

And I promised to share 7 reasons that answer Clarabella’s intriguing question:

“What’s changed in the last 14 years
to cause such a spike in the 40-54 age group?”

I also promised to share the most obvious and powerful predictor of stroke you must keep an eye on if you’re in this age group and want to avoid stroke and the heavy financial impact it can have on you and your loved ones.

Right, s’pose I best get on with it then…

What’s changed?

Here are 7 things Clarabella and I discussed over coffee:

  1. Easy money on credit – A double edged sword as we’ll see.
  2. Two car families – Before 2000 most houses only had 1 car which meant someone was going to have to walk more than they do now with a second car.
  3. Internet and online – There’s been a sharp increase in the amount of people getting online. Surfing used to be slow and tedious. Now it’s almost instant. All of which leads to: more sat down time, more computer time and more time on social media.
  4. We became a nation of wine drinkers (or maybe that was just me?)
  5. There was a very clear shift from real food and cooking from scratch to easily digestible, high starch, low fat, heavily processed foods.
  6. The stress of the financial crash – Suddenly all that easily accessible money disappeared and everyone tightened their belts up leaving millions with their arses exposed (ask me how I know).
  7. Our lives have got busier and busier – Thanks to computers and instant communications, we’re all expected to be able to do more in less time. Which quickly leads to burn out, stress and overwhelm.
  8. Social – Family life has become far more complicated. Tension created with both partners usually out working. Woman became expected to go out and bring in a wage and in most cases they were still expected to raise the kids and shoulder the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities.
  9. Being 40 has always been a stressful time anyway what with been pulled between helping ageing parents, raising kids, maintaining a healthy relationship with a partner and taking care of yourself.
  10. The idea of retiring in your 60’s became a distant dream. We’re all now expected to work until we drop.
  11. 40 became the new 30 – And 50 the new 40, 60 the new 50 and so on. But nobody’s told our bodies and we rarely have the lifestyle habits to support the demands of working longer and doing more with less.
  12. Overwhelm – There’s so much out there to grab now. But it’s all so overwhelming and confusing. Yes we could be doing classes in Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and what not, but where do you start? How do you find the time on top of everything else you’re expected to be doing? It’s much easier to stuff your face with comfort food – which is comforting because it stimulates the same areas of your brain (the hedonic systems) as drugs like cocaine.
  13. Not my responsibility – We all know that smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, eating junk and so on is bad for us. Yet millions – not you of course, because you’re a ZEN+ reader – don’t heed the warnings. Instead we’ll just go to the doctor and get a tablet. And there’s always the good old NHS to patch us up for free if we need serious help.

Whoops I just realised that’s 13 changes. What can I say? I like to over-deliver.

Here’s a comment I found on a blog whilst researching the new data on stroke in the UK, I think it sums up the above quite nicely:

“Stressful none-jobs, alienated life of paying mortgage and rent, booze, fags and ice cream to take the edge off a life of sitting in traffic and wishing for a lottery win. Modern life is a stroke in slow motion. There’s no doubt about stress and the pressures we face in the 21st century due to our busy lives.”

It’s not a pretty picture is it?

You know, I try to be a passionate writer with a positive message. But it’s not easy in the face of what we all have to deal with and manage in the 21st century. You simply must make it a priority to take care of yourself and implement healthy lifestyle choices like those in the ZEN+ project.

Yes I know it’s hard, but the truth is… Maintaining health isn’t convenient.

Look, I’m outta time.

So tomorrow I promise to tell you all about the most powerful predictor of stroke and why most 40-54 year olds rarely bother with it.

And I’ll share some research Clarabella has just shared with me this very second…

Until then…

Bye for now

Marcus

P.S. If you want help implementing simple and powerful lifestyle changes into your life…

You’ll discover 120 – backed by science – tips and techniques –> Here <---