Nav: Home

Regular exercise, not BMI, before stroke may predict disability later

April 05, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS - A new study suggests it's the amount of regular exercise people get, not the amount of body fat they have, that may predict just how well they recover from a stroke. The study is published in the April 5, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"We found that those who exercised vigorously three times a week or more three years prior to stroke were more likely to be independent before and after stroke, compared to those who were inactive" said study author Pamela Rist, ScD, of Harvard University in Boston and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "We also found that a person's body mass index was not a factor in predicting their level of disability after stroke."

Body mass index is a measure of a person's body fat based on their height and weight. Having too much body fat may be a risk to a person's health.

For the study, researchers followed 18,117 people who were initially stroke free for an average of 12 years. Participants were interviewed every other year about their ability to do basic activities like getting dressed, bathing, eating and getting out of bed; and more complex activities including taking medications as prescribed, grocery shopping, preparing meals and managing money.

They were also asked their height, weight and whether they participated in vigorous physical activity or exercise three times a week or more during the past year. Vigorous physical activity was defined as participating in sports, heavy housework or a job that required physical labor.

During the study, 1,374 of the participants had a stroke and survived, and 479 people had a stroke and died before the next round of interviews. Of those who did not have a stroke, 45 percent were physically active, compared to 43 percent of those who had a stroke and survived and 26 percent of those who had a stroke and died.

Among stroke survivors, those who were physically inactive were 18 percent less likely to be taking care of their basic activities such as bathing on their own three years after stroke than those who exercised regularly. They also were 16 percent less likely to be taking care of more complex activities such as managing money on their own. The study showed similar differences between inactive and active people three years before a stroke occurred.

In addition, researchers say their study suggests that being physically active does not protect against the disabling effects of a stroke itself.

"Our study was able to show that being physically inactive before stroke predicts a higher risk of being dependent both before and after stroke," said Rist. "Research is needed to look into whether more intense activity could improve stroke outcomes and whether people can change their activity patterns to improve stroke outcomes."

Limitations of the study include that the information was self-reported. There was a lack of information on the various stroke subtypes. Also, some in the study may have already had physical limitations at the start of the study that prevented them from being physically active.
-end-
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

To learn more about stroke, visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Stroke Articles:

Retraining the brain to see after stroke
A new study out today in Neurology, provides the first evidence that rigorous visual training restores rudimentary sight in patients who went partially blind after suffering a stroke, while patients who did not train continued to get progressively worse.
Catheter ablations reduce risks of stroke in heart patients with stroke history, study finds
Atrial fibrillation patients with a prior history of stroke who undergo catheter ablation to treat the abnormal heart rhythm lower their long-term risk of a recurrent stroke by 50 percent, according to new research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
Imaging stroke risk in 4-D
A new MRI technique developed at Northwestern University detects blood flow velocity to identify who is most at risk for stroke, so they can be treated accordingly.
Biomarkers may help better predict who will have a stroke
People with high levels of four biomarkers in the blood may be more likely to develop a stroke than people with low levels of the biomarkers, according to a study published in the Aug.
Pre-stroke risk factors influence long-term future stroke, dementia risk
If you had heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, before your first stoke, your risk of suffering subsequent strokes and dementia long after your initial stroke may be higher.
Intervention methods of stroke need to focus on prevention for blacks to reduce stroke mortality
Blacks are four times more likely than their white counterparts to die from stroke at age 45.
Study shows area undamaged by stroke remains so, regardless of time stroke is left untreated
A study led by Achala Vagal, M.D., associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health radiologist, looked at a group of untreated acute stroke patients and found that there was no evidence of time dependence on damage outcomes for the penumbra, or tissue that is at risk of progressing to dead tissue but is still salvageable if blood flow is returned in a stroke, but rather an association with collateral flow -- or rerouting of blood through clear vessels.
Immediate aspirin after mini-stroke substantially reduces risk of major stroke
Using aspirin urgently could substantially reduce the risk of major strokes in patients who have minor 'warning' events.
SAGE launches the European Stroke Journal with the European Stroke Organisation
SAGE, a world leading independent and academic publisher, is delighted to announce the launch of the European Stroke Journal, the flagship journal of the European Stroke Organisation.
The S-stroke or I-stroke?
The year 2016 is an Olympic year. Developments in high-performance swimwear for swimming continue to advance, along with other areas of scientific research.

Related Stroke Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#532 A Class Conversation
This week we take a look at the sociology of class. What factors create and impact class? How do we try and study it? How does class play out differently in different countries like the US and the UK? How does it impact the political system? We talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged", about class and its impacts on people and our systems.