Sitting 8 hours a day can increase the chances of a stroke, study says

Adults under the age of 60 who spend most of their days sitting have a higher risk of having a stroke (or cerebrovascular accident) compared to those who spend more time involved in physical activity, new research reveals.

According to the study, published in the American Heart Association’s scientific journal Stroke, people who reported sitting eight hours or more a day and who did not engage in physical activity had a seven times greater risk of having a stroke than people who spent less. four hours of downtime and at least 10 minutes a day exercising.

The analysis considered health information for 143,000 adults from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Scientists followed the participants, who were 40 years or older with no previous history of stroke, for an average of 9.4 years.

“Sedentary lifestyles are believed to impair glucose, lipid metabolism, blood flow and increase inflammation in the body,” said study author Raed Joundi, a clinical researcher at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. “These changes, over time, can have adverse effects on blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Of the 2,965 strokes (CVAs) recorded during the investigation period, 90% were ischemic strokes. These are the most common types of stroke, Joundi said, and happen when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked.

If the stroke is not treated quickly, brain cells in that area can start to die from lack of oxygen, he added.

signs of a stroke

There are several signs that someone may be having a stroke, said Kerry Stewart, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the United States, who did not participate in the study.

Common symptoms include feeling weak in the arms, legs or face, especially if the sensation is isolated to one side of the body, he said.

Slurred speech and difficulty seeing or hearing are other signs that you may be having a stroke, according to Stewart.

If you suddenly have a severe headache that is unrelated to any other known health problem, this could also be a symptom of stroke, he noted.

Physical activity
Regular physical activity helps reduce the chances of a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) / Arek Adeoye/Unsplash

How to decrease the chances of a stroke

Increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time can help reduce stroke risks, Stewart said.

People can start by standing longer and sitting less, he noted, and make small changes to their routine, such as taking the stairs instead of using the elevator.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, according to the American Heart Association. Joundi stated that it is ideal for this activity to be done in periods of more than 10 minutes at a time.

“Activities are considered moderate intensity when you exercise enough to increase your heart rate and sweat, like brisk walking or cycling,” he said.

Previous research has shown that 10 potentially modifiable risk factors, including alcohol consumption, were associated with 90% of strokes, said Joundi, so “90% of strokes could, in theory, be avoided if all these risk factors were eliminated in one. population”.

To reduce the risk of stroke, Joundi recommended that people focus on more than just cutting down on sedentary leisure time. “Improving physical activity is just one important component of reducing stroke risk, along with a nutritious diet, quitting smoking, and diagnosing and treating conditions like hypertension and diabetes,” he said.

Translated text, read the original in English.