The prevalence of stroke victims in the US has increased in recent years. A study analyzed the history of over 8 million hospital patients from 1995 to 2008 has identified a 33% increased risk of suffering from a stroke if you are between the ages of 5 and 44.
Strokes Caused by Blood Clots
Contributing factors were found to be diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), blood lipid disorders, tobacco use, and obesity. People with one or more of those factors have a greater chance of developing an ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots. High blood pressure was reported in 50% of the stroke victims, and being male and over the age of 35 puts you at an even greater risk than anyone else. Great!
Regarding the commonly believed myth that only ‘older’ people get strokes, Dr. Lorna Layward, from the Stroke Association in the UK, made the following statement:
“People usually associate strokes with older people, but a quarter of all strokes happen to people of working age, and around 400 children have a stroke every year in the UK. We know that high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, along with other factors such as obesity, diabetes, poor diet and smoking. This research emphasizes the need for people to be aware that stroke can affect younger people, and for all of us, regardless of our age, to check our blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
At some point everyone should be tested for Factor V Lieden and other genetic blood clotting disorders. Most people don’t even know they have these conditions until they actually get a blood clot, whether from injury, natural causes, or a reaction to medication. Personally, I get blood clots by doing everyday tasks, whether I workout or not, so I have to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. I nearly died twice from pulmonary emboli. Don’t let it happen to you!
Strokes Caused by Aneurysm
Recent studies have concluded that drinking coffee, vigorous sex, and blowing your nose could increase the risk of rupturing an aneurysm. A ruptured brain aneurysm can occur when a weakened blood vessel (an aneurysm) bursts in the brain. Ruptured brain aneurysms usually lead to severe brain damage or death.
Any activity that causes a sudden, sharp rise in blood pressure, can rupture an aneurysm. I guess that rules out powerlifting, eh?
Studies found that coffee, or more accurately caffiene, was responsible for 10% of brain aneurysms. That being said, regular coffee drinkers only have a 1.7 times greater increased risk of aneurysm.
Studies found that, similar to blowing your nose, being startled increases your risk factor 23 times, but only 2.7% of aneurysms were caused by being startled. I guess I can keep watching my horror movies then.
Apparently having sex and being constipated also increases your risk of rupturing an aneurysm, but I don’t have those numbers on hand. Quite frankly, I refuse to believe that any activity related to sex can cause death. Just ask David Carradine… wait… nevermind.
In any case, I’m not telling you to go out and get an MRI to see if you have weak blood vessels in your brain. However, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on your blood pressure, while also trying not to put too much sudden violent strain on your body.
New Hope for Stroke Victims
Looks like stem cell studies are continuing to pay off. In recent news I’ve seen stem cells used for reversing baldness, preventing alzheimers, healing burn victims, and now repairing brain damage caused by stroke. The treatment won’t be available to the general public for at least 5 years, but so far there are no adverse effects.
Strokes kill hundreds of thousands of people world-wide every year, so this news give us more hope for the future. Eventually one day I’m sure stem cells will be used to reverse paralysis and much more. For now though, be sure to breathe out during the concentric motion of your squats… especially if you are male over the age of 35. Good luck!
The Stroke Association