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To Your Health Newsletter

June, 2018 (Vol. 12, Issue 12)
Exercise Lowers Stroke Risk - Even After One

By Editorial Staff

A stroke is no laughing matter. Lack of blood flow to the brain deprives brain tissue of oxygen and vital nutrients, causing cell death in a short time. The impact, even if one survives, can range from short to long term and encompass physical, emotional and cognitive limitations and challenges.

Because high blood pressure is the primary risk factor for stroke, exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is a great way to reduce stroke risk. Exercise can help prevent a first stroke from occurring – and may even reduce the risk of suffering a second stroke if you've already suffered one. That's the conclusion drawn from a recent research review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

strok risk - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Researchers analyzed 20 studies involving more than 1,000 stroke survivors who participated in post-stroke exercise programs. All study participants had suffered a full-blown stroke or a "mini-stroke," known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Stroke survivors who exercised, particularly aerobically, lowered their blood pressure compared to stroke survivors who didn't exercise, effectively reducing their risk of suffering another stroke.

The study didn't go as far as to say post-stroke exercise reduces repeat stroke risk, but because high blood pressure is an important risk factor for stroke in the first place, lowering BP improved their odds of avoiding a second stroke. Your doctor can tell you more about stroke risk, blood pressure and its impact on health, and how to keep your BP in the healthy range.