Sunday February 24, 2019

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

U.S. Senators Launch Investigation on Rising Insulin Prices

U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern.

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A syringe with insulin. VOA

Two U.S. senators launched an investigation into rising insulin prices on Friday, sending letters to the three leading manufacturers seeking answers as to why the nearly 100-year-old drug’s cost has rapidly risen, causing patients and taxpayers to spend millions of dollars a year.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the committee’s top Democrat, sent letters to the heads of Eli Lilly and Co., Novo Nordisk A/S and Sanofi SA, the longtime leading manufacturers of insulin.

The senators pointed to similar, large insulin price increases at all three companies. Eli Lilly’s Humalog, for instance, rose from $35 to $234 per dose between 2001 and 2015, a 585 percent increase, they wrote. Insulin has been available since the early 20th century.

The senators asked for information on the process used to determine list prices and the process used to determine net prices after negotiations with pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and health insurance plans. Their letters also asked for information about the cost of research and development, production, revenues and gross margins from insulin sales.

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U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern. Pixabay

“These hardships can lead to serious medical complications that are entirely preventable and completely unacceptable for the world’s wealthiest country,” the senators wrote in similarly worded letters.

‘Increasingly severe hardships’

“We are concerned that the substantial increases in the price of insulin over the past several years will continue their upward drive and pose increasingly severe hardships not only on patients that require access to the drug in order to stay alive but also on the taxpayer,” they wrote.

While Democratic lawmakers have launched several drug price investigations, this is one of the first bipartisan inquiries.

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“These hardships can lead to serious medical complications that are entirely preventable and completely unacceptable for the world’s wealthiest country,” the senators wrote in similarly worded letters. Pixabay

The Senate Finance Committee has the power to subpoena drugmakers.

The letters came just days before the same committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with seven pharmaceutical company executives, the latest congressional hearing on rising drug prices.

Also Read: What Does Architecture Of Houses in U.S. Tells Us About America

U.S. lawmakers have intensified scrutiny on prescription medicine costs as the issue consistently polls as a top voter concern. In January, top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee also wrote to the three insulin manufacturers asking for information on why their prices have rapidly risen.

About 1.2 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly 30 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, is treated with a variety of other medicines. But those patients may also eventually become dependent on insulin. (VOA)