Nav: Home

Exercise an effective protection against life-threatening cerebral haemorrhage

June 25, 2019

A Finnish study demonstrates that as little as half an hour of light exercise per week effectively protects against subarachnoid haemorrhage, the most lethal disorder of the cerebral circulation.

Among disorders of the cerebral circulation, subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is the most lethal kind, with as many as half of those affected dying within three months. As the related mortality rate is high, a feverish search for predisposing factors has been underway across the globe for the past few decades. Previously, smoking and high blood pressure have been observed to heighten the risk of an SAH haemorrhage, but research evidence on the effects of exercise has remained scarce.

In a Finnish follow-up study published in the distinguished Scientific Reports journal, the effects of exercise on SAH risk were investigated in a cohort of roughly 70,000 Finns gained from the FINRISK population survey. The findings indicate that as little as half an hour of light exercise per week reduces the risk of SAH by approximately 5%, with the benefit increasing proportionally to the amount of exercise. This can be achieved, for example, by walking, cycling or, say, skiing to work.

"Even moderate physical exercise, such as a 30-minute walk or bike ride four days a week reduces the risk of SAH by roughly 20%, regardless of age and gender," says physician Joni Lindbohm, the principal author of the research article.

"As such, the finding did not really come as a surprise, as exercise is known to work well in preventing many other cardiovascular diseases. However, the extent and comprehensive nature of the benefit among various groups of people was a positive surprise."

The study also demonstrated the favourable effect of increased exercise in connection with smoking and high blood pressure, the other SAH risk factors. For smokers in particular, exercise reduces the risk as much as twice the amount applicable to the rest of the population.

"However, what must not be overlooked is the fact that smoking remains the number one risk factor for SAH and that quitting smoking is the principal way of preventing the appearance of the disorder," Lindbohm notes.

Most SAH haemorrhages are the result of ruptured cerebral aneurysms, causing blood to flow from the largest cerebral arteries into the space between meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain, which increases intracranial pressure and reduces cerebral circulation.

"Even with no accurate scientific evidence of the biological mechanism of action produced by exercise in terms of SAH, the reduced risk is most likely connected with a reduction in a systemic inflammatory state, which also affects the walls of cerebral arteries," neurosurgeon Miikka Korja explains.

According to Lindbohm and Korja, key to minimising the risk of SAH is quitting smoking, balancing one's blood pressure and exercising regularly.
Further information:

Joni Lindbohm, MD, University of Helsinki
Tel. +358 40 753 8104

Reference: Lindbohm J, Rautalin I, Jousilahti P, Salomaa V, Kaprio J, Korja M. Physical activity associates with subarachnoid hemorrhage risk- a population-based long-term cohort study. Sci Rep, 2019.

University of Helsinki

Related Blood Pressure Articles:

Do you really have high blood pressure?
A study by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) shows that more than half of family doctors in Canada are still using manual devices to measure blood pressure, a dated technology that often leads to misdiagnosis.
Why do we develop high blood pressure?
Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, may be related to changes in brain activity and blood flow early in life.
For some, high blood pressure associated with better survival
Patients with both type 2 diabetes and acute heart failure face a significantly lower risk of death but a higher risk of heart failure-related hospitalizations if they had high systolic blood pressure on discharge from the hospital compared to those with normal blood pressure, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.
$9.4 million grant helps scientists explore how cell death from high blood pressure fuels even higher pressure
It's been known for decades that a bacterial infection can raise your blood pressure short term, but now scientists are putting together the pieces of how our own dying cells can fuel chronically high, destructive pressure.
Blood pressure diet improves gout blood marker
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and reduced in fats and saturated fats (the DASH diet), designed decades ago to reduce high blood pressure, also appears to significantly lower uric acid, the causative agent of gout.
More Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events

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

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...