Small sessions of physical activity extending beyond 10 minutes can help reduce the risks of a stroke.
It is normal for young people to sit for more than 8 hours or more in today's world, but a new study reveals that they are at a greater risk of having a stroke. It was found that adults under 60 who were not physically active and spent much of their time sitting were seven times more at risk of having a stroke than those who spent less than four hours in a sedentary position and at least 10 minutes exercising each day, according to a study published in Stroke from the American Heart Association.
The study came to the conclusion after interviewing 143,000 adults from the Canadian Community Health Survey. The study was the result of nearly 10 years of monitoring adults who were 40 years and had no prior history of stroke. The scientists involved in the study followed the participants of the survey for 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, reported CNN. "These changes, over time, may have adverse effects on the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke." During the time frame, 2,965 people had strokes, of which 90% were ischemic strokes. Joundi noted that it was the most common type of stroke and it happens when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked. In such cases, the stroke needs to be treated quickly or the brain cells could die from lack of oxygen.
Stroke symptoms to look out for
There are many symptoms to look out for prior to getting a stroke. Some of the common symptoms include feeling weakness in your arms, legs, or face, said Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Stewart added that one of the biggest symptoms is if the feeling of weakness is limited to one side of the body. Some of the other prominent symptoms include slurred speech, difficulty in seeing or hearing. Stewart added that a severe headache could also be a stroke symptom, especially if it isn't related to any other health condition.
What to do to decrease your chances of stroke
Stewart says it's imperative to increase physical activity, even if it means just standing up or walking a few paces during the workday. The key is to decrease sedentary time and increase physical activity, says Stewart. He adds that people would do well to stand more and sit less, or make small changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. According to the American Heart Association, adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Joundi says it's ideal if the period of activity per session extends beyond 10 minutes. "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," said Joundi. The factors of a stroke are not just a sedentary lifestyle but also alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, lack of a nutritious diet, and diagnosing and treating conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Joundi said, "90% of strokes could, in theory, be avoided if all of these risk factors were removed in a population." The key, Joundi maintains, is to be more physically active.
According to CDC, acting F.A.S.T. can help stroke patients get the timely treatment they need. FAST is an abbreviation that helps the bystander lookout for symptoms in the patient:
F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.