Exercise powerful for stroke and colon cancer prevention


2009-11-14 12:18

Two important studies show that exercise is a powerful intervention for disease prevention, and is underutilized for health maintenance. According to the study from Dutch researchers, exercise can cut risk of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke significantly. In a second study, the scientists point to findings that exercise as an intervention that can prevent colon cancer.

Stroke prevention and exercise

Primary causes of stroke include heart disease, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption, blood clotting disorders, use of contraceptives, heart rhythm disturbance (atrial fibrillation), smoking, diabetes, and carotid stenosis.

Stroke causes death in one out of three individuals and is the third leading cause of death in industrialized countries according to background information from the study authors. Researchers found that exercise can reduce risk of fatal and non-fatal stroke by twenty to thirty percent.

Stroke caused by lack of blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke) was found to be lowered by 24 percent in women and by 27 percent in men as the result of regular exercise. More intense physical activity was found in the analysis to be even more effective for preventing stroke.

Exercise reduced the risk of stroke from bleeding (hemorrhagic) in men to a greater degree than in women – for men, exercise lowers the chances of having a hemorrhagic stroke by forty percent, but for women the risk reduction was eight percent. The researchers say the difference may be because fewer women were included in studies. When they looked at case controlled studies, exercising reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke by sixty eight percent for both men and women.

Aerobic exercise was most likely to be associated with preventing stroke, as well as heart disease. Men who exercise in their free time were found to have a twenty-four percent lower risk of coronary artery disease, and for women the risk was twenty three percent less.

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