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Have a park or other “green area” within walking distance to your home ? It could be the determinant between your experiencing a stroke.

As we choose our next place of residence or perhaps, you’re changing the composition of your own city boundaries and inclusions it’s really obvious that we can change the feel while impacting your families health risks……. by being near green spaces.

In the March 2020 journal  Environment International, the researcher did a deep dive and evaluated 3.5 million people’s data in the European country of Catalonia. When they looked at people living within ~985 feet an easy walking distance (0.18 of a mile) they had a reduction of 16% from experiencing an ischemic stroke.

Keep in mind that the researchers also evaluated the impact of air pollution which result in several changes in one’s body that creates the predisposition that can lead toward development of a stroke. The air pollution results in  our bodies increasing overall inflammation, accelerated progression of atherosclerosis (clogging of our vessels), and predisposition to cardiac arrhythmias. (irregular rhythms) Check out our article regarding air pollution’s effect on your skin.

Green areas aid us by reducing emotional stress, increasing our physical activity, contributing to our social contacts, and even we receive exposure to an enriched microbiome (the bacteria that are in the air and in the soil).

The bad, but not unknown or unexpected news, is that our exposure to environmental pollutants, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (N02), and soot significantly increases the risk of suffering an ischemic stroke. The results are that the authors consider their findings highlight that the current standards for the maximum levels of pollutants, established by the European Union, are not healthful and should be lowered.

The bottom line…….the risk of suffering an ischemic stroke, the most common type is 16% less in people who have green spaces less than 1/5th of a mile from their homes. That means a park or even small green areas of trees and other foliage can really make a difference and we are not talking about a far distance; 0.18 miles is only a few blocks in most cities.

For those of you wanting to know what constitutes a green space see its definition as Vegetation Continuous Fields and Modified Soil-adjusted Vegetation Index. Or more specifically, “agricultural green, which included arboreal and herbaceous crops; forest green, which included sclerophyllous, deciduous and conifer forests; and urban green, which included artificial green areas and urban woodland.” So think in terms of a mix of potential vegetation.

One of the findings keys for the researchers was that more traffic equals more NO2 which is a key criteria for increasing the risk of a stroke. Wonder how much is the stress relationship and then the change in blood pressure considering we need to be on alert when around traffic coupled with the pollution effects.

Take Aways:

  • Live as far from traffic as possible
  • Pick a home location near a park or other green spaces
  • Plant as many trees, shrub and other greens, water permitting, in your own environment
  • Clean the air in your home with a filter system.
  • Keep your home free of exhaust (think about a garage attached to your home or idling outside your home)