Middle-Age Fitness Reduces Risk of Stroke Later

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Study finds this one thing reduces risk by 37 percent

Physical fitness in middle age may lower your risk of stroke after 65, a new study finds.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that healthy mid-life behaviors pay off as we age, and lower our risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He was not involved in the study.

Among nearly 20,000 adults in their mid to late 40s, researchers found the most fit had a 37 percent lower risk of having a stroke after 65, compared with the least fit.

The protective effect of fitness remained even after the researchers accounted for risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

“Incorporating exercise and regular physical activity in one’s day-to-day routine is important to improve fitness and lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in older age,” said lead researcher Dr. Ambarish Pandey. He is a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

Pandey said an exercise routine should include aerobic exercise (such as joggingswimming, walking or biking), plus strengthening exercise (such as free weights or strength-training machines).

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability, Pandey noted.

Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, cutting off blood and oxygen. This causes brain cells to die and can leave permanent disability.

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SOURCE: HealthDay News
Steven Reinberg