High-fiber foods can prevent the occurrence of first-time stroke, and coronary artery calcification scores help clinicians identify those at risk for this event, recent results from two different studies indicate.
In a meta-analysis of eight cohort studies that were published between 1990 and 2012, total dietary fiber intake was inversely associated with risk of hemorrhagic plus ischemic stroke, with every 7-g increase in total dietary fiber reducing first-time stroke risk by 7%. However, wrote Diane E. Threapleton, MSc, and colleagues in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, data were insufficient to draw conclusions regarding the relationship between type of fiber (soluble or insoluble) and stroke. 1
A separate Stroke study on the occurrence of first-time stroke demonstrated that coronary artery calcification (CAC) is an independent predictor of such events in the general population.2 CAC is a noninvasive marker of coronary atherosclerotic plaque load; as measured by electron beam-computed tomography, CAC was recently identified as a powerful predictor of MI in the general population.
Among 4,180 persons aged 45 to 75 years with no history of stroke, 92 incident strokes occurred (82 ischemic and 10 hemorrhagic). Affected persons had significantly higher CAC values at baseline than did study participants who did not have a stroke (median 104.8 vs. 11.2).
CAC predicted stroke in both men and women, particularly those younger than age 65 years and independent of the presence of atrial fibrillation. It also discriminated stroke risk specifically in persons falling into the low (<10%) and intermediate (10% to 20%) Framingham risk score categories.