2 Your Health Working up a sweat may reduce your stroke risk - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

2 Your Health Working up a sweat may reduce your stroke risk

2 Your Health Working up a sweat may reduce your stroke risk

Posted: Updated:
CHARLESTON, SC -

New findings suggest that breaking a sweat during regular physical activity may lower your risk of having a stroke.

Friends cooling down after a workout.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It occurs when blood vessels that supply the brain become ruptured or blocked. As a result, brain cells die from lack of oxygen and other nutrients. Even when a stroke isn't fatal, the damage to brain cells can lead to permanent speech, movement or memory problems. It's still not known why most strokes occur, but various risk factors have been identified, including high blood pressure, diabetes and inactivity.

To investigate the relationship between physical activity and stroke, a team led by Dr. Michelle N. McDonnell from the University of South Australia and Dr. Virginia Howard of the University of Alabama at Birmingham analyzed data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The dataset included information on more than 27,000 black and white participants, both men and women, from across the country. They were at least 45 years old at the time of recruitment and had no prior history of stroke.

The participants were asked how many times per week they exercised to the point of sweating. They were then contacted every 6 months to see if they had experienced a stroke or a mini-stroke known as a transient ischemic attack. Participants were followed for an average of 5.7 years. Medical records confirmed their responses. The study was funded by NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). It appeared online on July 18, 2013, in the journal Stroke.

Participants who were inactive (exercising less than once a week) were 20% more likely to have a stroke or transient ischemic attack than those who exercised at least 4 times a week. After adjusting for traditional stroke risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, body mass index, alcohol use and smoking) exercise was not a significant independent predictor of stroke risk, suggesting that the effect of physical activity is mediated through its association with obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

"Physical inactivity is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke," Howard says. "This should be emphasized in routine physician checkups."

"Exercise reduces blood pressure, weight and diabetes. If exercise was a pill, you'd be taking one pill to treat 4 or 5 different conditions," McDonnell says.

One limitation of the study is that it included self-reported data on the frequency of exercise, but not on the duration of activity. Official guidelines recommend that healthy adults (ages 18 to 64) get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic physical activity each week. Activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time.

REGARDS will continue to assess stroke risk factors to look for long-term patterns in the study population. The findings will ultimately help researchers develop interventions aimed at preventing stroke and its consequences.

  • Charleston city planners discuss Upper Peninsula developments

    Charleston city planners discuss Upper Peninsula developments

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:41 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:41:40 GMT
    Tonight in downtown Charleston a public meeting was held to discuss large-scale developments for the city's Upper Peninsula area.
    Tonight in downtown Charleston a public meeting was held to discuss large-scale developments for the city's Upper Peninsula area.
  • SC will not ignore Common core when writing new school standards

    SC will not ignore Common core when writing new school standards

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:47:09 GMT
    A dispute over how to rewrite South Carolina's math and reading standards pits leaders of South Carolina's two education boards against Education Superintendent Mick Zais, three months before voters replace him. Zais has promised to use a new law to kill Common Core standards before he leaves office in January. The one-term Republican lacks the authority to do so. But he has influence over the review process. The law directs educator panels to review current math and reading standards, which ...
    A dispute over how to rewrite South Carolina's math and reading standards pits leaders of South Carolina's two education boards against Education Superintendent Mick Zais, three months before voters replace him. Zais has promised to use a new law to kill Common Core standards before he leaves office in January. The one-term Republican lacks the authority to do so. But he has influence over the review process. The law directs educator panels to review current math and reading standards, which ...
  • Tigers report for preseason practice

    Tigers report for preseason practice

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:04 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:04:41 GMT
    Clemson, S.C.—Dabo Swinney welcomed 105 active Clemson football players to the first official team meeting of the preseason on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Swinney’s sixth Clemson squad met for nearly four hours with various department leaders of the program who gave orientation instructions to their specific areas.The day started with the announcement that Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseas...
    Clemson, S.C.—Dabo Swinney welcomed 105 active Clemson football players to the first official team meeting of the preseason on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Swinney’s sixth Clemson squad met for nearly four hours with various department leaders of the program who gave orientation instructions to their specific areas.The day started with the announcement that Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseas...
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.