Scientists in Canada have found through extensive research that more than 90 percent of strokes across the world are a result of just ten risk factors, most of which can be prevented as part of a sustained healthcare program.

The research report which was published in last week's edition of the medical journal Lancet, found that high blood pressure poses the biggest risk though smoking, obesity (especially around the belly), large periods of inactivity and stress are the other reasons that could cause a stroke.

The study also found that a very large percentage of patients who suffered the ischemic stroke also complained of very high levels of lipids in their blood stream. Fat in the blood stream is measured by a test known as the ApoB to ApoA1 ratio and is considered one of the key tests for people above 40 years.

The research, carried out on a largely Canadian population, also found that most of the risk factors that lead up to a stroke could be isolated and treated separately or collectively. Stroke prevention programs targeting these common risk factors will have a significant impact in reducing the incidence of the disease, said Antoine Hakim, CEO and scientific director of the Canadian Stroke Network.

The research team was led by Salim Yusuf of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. The group analyzed data of both ischemic stroke where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain and the hemorrhagic stroke where a blood vessel ruptures.

Called Interstroke, the study was conducted between March 2007 and April 2010 and involved interviewing more than 6,000 people from 22 countries, half of whom had suffered a stroke. It was found that the risk factors were quite similar to those for heart attacks.