Background and Purpose--Stroke patients have a 15-fold increased risk of recurrent stroke, and those with [>=]1 risk factor have a further increased risk of recurrence. Previous work found management of physiological risk factors after stroke to be unsatisfactory, but there is little information on behavioral risks within the stroke population. This study estimates behavioral risk factor prevalence after stroke and explores lifestyle change. Methods--The study used data from the population-based South London Stroke Register, collected prospectively between 1995 and 1998. Main measures included smoking status, alcohol use, and obesity. Logistic regression was used to determine sociodemographic differences in these measures. Results--At 1 year after stroke, 22% of patients still smoked, 36% of patients were obese, and 4% drank excessively. Younger patients, whites, and men were more likely to smoke, and younger whites were more likely to drink excessively. Women and nonwhites were more likely to be obese. Those living in hospital, nursing home, or residential care and nonwhites were more likely to give up smoking, but there were no other associations between lifestyle change and the sociodemographic characteristics of patients. Conclusions--Different behavioral risk factors were associated with specific sociodemographic groups within the stroke population. After stroke, high-risk groups should continue to be targeted to prevent stroke recurrence. However, the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle change remains unclear; more research is needed into the process of change to find out how best to intervene to improve secondary prevention.
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