Stroke: The seemingly healthy activity that can increase risk by 60% – study warning


A new study by NUI Galway, the National University of Ireland, has been looking into the causes of stroke. The study, which forms part of the INTERSTROKE study, has discovered two new potential triggers of a stroke. After analysing 13,462 cases of acute stroke in 32 countries they found that anger and extreme exercise or exertion could trigger a stroke. The researchers report that one in 11 survivors said they had, “experienced a period of anger or upset in the one hour leading up to [the stroke]” whilst, “[o]ne in 20 patients had engaged in heavy physical exertion”.

Professor Andrew Smyth, one of the members of the team who worked on the study said they found that being emotionally upset, “was linked to an approximately 30 percent increase in risk of stroke” in the hour after the episode.

The increase went up if the person had a history of depression and it went higher for the less well educated.

With regard to extreme physical exertion, Professor Smyth said that it was linked, “to an approximately 60 percent increase in risk of intracerebral haemorrhage during the one hour after the episode”.

Furthermore, there was greater risk for women who had been through some heavy physical exertion, but less risk for those with a normal BMI (Body Mass Index).

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Alongside this the study said that there was, “no increase with exposure to both triggers of anger and physical exertion”.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, will shine a light on our understanding of how strokes are triggered.

Strokes happen when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

There are two types of stroke with two different causes.

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Ischaemic strokes are the most common.

They occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.

They form where the arteries have been blocked or narrowed over time by fatty deposits.

Another potential cause is a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation where the heart beats abnormally fast.

Face, their face may have dropped on one side, so may have their eye or mouth and they may be unable to smile.

Arms, the individual may not be able to lift both arms or keep them raised once they’ve lifted them.

Speech, their speech might be slurred or garbled, they may be unable to talk at all despite appearing completely awake or they may not understand what you’re communicating to them.

Time, if you see someone experiencing these symptoms, call 999 as soon as possible.



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