Monday, October 18, 2021
HomeCardiovascularStroke risk 7x higher in sedentary under-60s — Large Canadian study

Stroke risk 7x higher in sedentary under-60s — Large Canadian study

Adults under 60 who spend eight or more house a day sitting have a sevenfold higher risk of stroke compared with those who spent fewer than four hours being sedentary and at least 10 minutes exercising each day, according to a study in Stroke, journal of the American Heart Association.

People who reported sitting eight or more hours daily and were not very physically active otherwise were seven times more at risk of having a stroke than people who spent fewer than four hours being sedentary and at least 10 minutes exercising each day, shows the

Researchers included the health information of 143,000 adults from the Canadian Community Health Survey in their analysis. The scientists followed the participants, who were 40 years and older with no prior history of stroke, for an average of 9.4 years.

"Sedentary time is thought to impair glucose, lipid metabolism and blood flow, and increase inflammation in the body," said lead study author Dr Raed Joundi, clinical scholar at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

"These changes, over time, may have adverse effects on the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke."

CNN reports that of the 2,965 strokes participants had during the study period, 90% were ischemic strokes. Those are the most common type of stroke, Joundi said, and they happen when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked.

If the stroke isn't treated quickly, the brain cells in that area may start to die from lack of oxygen, he added.

There are multiple signs that indicate someone may be having a stroke, said Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, who was not involved in the study. Common symptoms include feeling weakness in your arms, legs or face, particularly if the feeling is isolated to one side of your body, he said.

Slurred speech and difficulty seeing or hearing are other signs you may be having a stroke, according to Stewart. If you suddenly have a severe headache that isn't linked to any other known health conditions you have, that could also be a stroke symptom, he noted.

Increasing physical activity while decreasing sedentary time can help lower your risk of stroke, starting by standing more and sitting less.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, according to the American Heart Association. Joundi said it's ideal for that activity to be in periods of more than 10 minutes at a time. "Activities are considered moderate intensity when you are exercising enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, such as brisk walking or biking," he said.

Previous research has shown 10 potentially modifiable risk factors, including alcohol consumption, were associated with 90% of strokes, Joundi said, so "90% of strokes could in theory be avoided if all of these risk factors were removed in a population”.

To reduce the risk of stroke, Joundi recommended people focus on more than just decreasing sedentary leisure time.

"Improving physical activity is only one important component of stroke risk reduction, together with a nutritious diet, smoking cessation, and diagnosing and treating conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes," he said.

 

CNN article – Study shows how sitting for 8 hours a day can affect your stroke risk (Open access)

 

Stroke AHA Journal article – Association between excess leisure sedentary time and risk of stroke in young individuals (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Any physical activity cuts mortality risk

 

Hour of exercise to eliminate risk of sitting 8 hours a day

 

Even in middle age, lifestyle changes substantially reduce future stroke risk for women

 

Higher daily step counts strongly associated with lower mortality risk

 

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter.

* indicates required