Saturday January 25, 2020

Severity Of A Stroke Reduces With Light Exercise: Study

Regular exercise helps the brain to maintain healthy arteries that have more complex networks.

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A stroke patient holds a flower in the therapeutic garden of the Acute Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. VOA

People who regularly engage in light to moderate physical activity — like walking four hours a week or swimming two hours weekly — might have less severe strokes than individuals who aren’t as active, a Swedish study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 925 patients who were treated for strokes at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, between 2014 and 2016. Overall, four in five of these patients had mild strokes.

Slightly more than half of the patients were inactive before their strokes. Compared with this inactive group, people who got at least some exercise before their strokes were twice as likely to have mild strokes, researchers reported in Neurology.

“We knew from earlier research that physical activity could reduce stroke incidence,” lead study author Malin Reinholdsson of the University of Gothenburg said by email. “However, whether or not pre-stroke physical activity could also influence stroke severity was not clear.”

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Being physically active can also help prevent risk factors for stroke, like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure Pixabay

Patients in the study were 73 years old on average and most of them had what’s known as an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, which occurs when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain. About 6 percent of patients had hemorrhagic strokes, a less common type that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.

Surveyed about exercise

To assess pre-stroke activity levels, researchers surveyed participants about the duration and intensity of any exercise they got before they were hospitalized.

Researchers defined “light” activity as walking at a leisurely pace for at least four hours a week, and classified exercise as “moderate” intensity when people did things like swimming, running or walking briskly for two to three hours weekly.

Among 481 people who were inactive, 354, or 74 percent, had mild strokes.
For those who managed light physical activity, 330, or 86 percent, had mild strokes. And among the 59 participants who got moderate intensity exercise, 53, or 90 percent, had mild strokes.

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Yoga is also a good physical exercise. Wikimedia

Age also mattered, with higher odds of a mild stroke for younger people in the study.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how the amount or intensity of exercise might influence stroke severity.

Another limitation is that researchers relied on stroke survivors to accurately recall their previous exercise habits, and memory is often compromised after a stroke.

Even so, the results add to evidence suggesting that an active lifestyle can both lower the risk of stroke and reduce the chances that a stroke will be severe, said Nicole Spartano, co-author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher at Boston University School of Medicine.

“Regular exercise helps the brain to maintain healthy arteries that have more complex networks,” Spartano said by email. “So when a blockage [stroke] happens in one area, there may be another route to provide oxygen to the affected area.”

Also Read: A Majority of Children Die Due to Lack of Basic Healthcare Facilities: UN

Being physically active can also help prevent risk factors for stroke, like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, Spartano noted.

“This study is exciting because it suggests that you might not have to do a lot of intense exercise to see an effect,” Spartano said. (VOA)

Next Story

High-Protein Diets May Increase Heart Attack Risk: Study

High-protein diets clog arteries, up heart disease risk

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High-protein diets may help people lose weight and build muscle, but there is a downside to it a" a greater heart attack risk. Pixabay

High-protein diets may help people lose weight and build muscle, but there is a downside to it a” a greater heart attack risk, says a health news and study. Researchers now report that high-protein diets boost artery-clogging plaque.

The research in mice showed that high-protein diets spur unstable plaque — the kind most prone to rupturing and causing blocked arteries.

More plaque buildup in the arteries, particularly if it’s unstable, increases the risk of heart attack.

“There are clear weight-loss benefits to high-protein diets, which has boosted their popularity in recent years,” said senior author Babak Razani, associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Heart Attack
More plaque buildup in the arteries, particularly if it’s unstable, increases the risk of heart attack. Pixabay

“But animal studies and some large epidemiological studies in people have linked high dietary protein to cardiovascular problems. We decided to take a look at whether there is truly a causal link between high dietary protein and poorer cardiovascular health,” Razani added.

The researchers studied mice who were fed a high-fat diet to deliberately induce atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries.

Some of the mice received a high-fat diet that was also high in protein. And others were fed a high-fat, low-protein diet for comparison.

The mice on the high-fat, high-protein diet developed worse atherosclerosis — about 30 per cent more plaque in the arteries — than mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet, despite the fact that the mice eating more protein did not gain weight, unlike the mice on the high-fat, normal-protein diet.

“A couple of a scoop of protein powder in a milkshake or smoothie adds something like 40 grams of protein — almost equivalent to the daily recommended intake,” Razani said.

“To see if protein has an effect on cardiovascular health, we tripled the amount of protein that the mice receive in the high-fat, high-protein diet — keeping the fat constant. Protein went from 15 per cent to 46 per cent of calories for these mice”.

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High-Protein Intake may affect your cardiovascular health. Pixabay

Plaque contains a mix of fat, cholesterol, calcium deposits and dead cells. Past work by Razani’s team and other groups has shown that immune cells called macrophages work to clean up plaque in the arteries.

But the environment inside plaque can overwhelm these cells, and when such cells die, they make the problem worse, contributing to plaque buildup and increasing plaque complexity.

“In mice on the high-protein diet, their plaques were a macrophage graveyard,” Razani informed.

To understand how high dietary protein might increase plaque complexity, Razani and his colleagues also studied the path protein takes after it has been digested — broken down into its original building blocks, called amino acids.

Also Read- Lower Physical Activity in Adulthood Leads to Obesity: Study

“This study is not the first to show a telltale increase in plaque with high-protein diets, but it offers a deeper understanding of the impact of high protein with the detailed analysis of the plaques,” said Razani.

“This work not only defines the critical processes underlying the cardiovascular risks of dietary protein but also lays the groundwork for targeting these pathways in treating heart disease,” he added. (IANS)