Friday, October 24, 2008

Exercise Improves Stroke Outcome

“Recovering from a stroke is easier if you were physically active before the attack, a new Danish study finds. Researchers found that such patients had less severe strokes and a better chance of long-term recovery. ‘Keeping fit will increase your chance of a life without stroke,’ said lead researcher Dr. Lars-Henrik Krarup, from the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen. ‘However, should you suffer a stroke, the chance is that it will be of milder severity, and you will make a better recovery.’ ‘The findings may have implications for future prevention campaigns, as people can be told of the beneficial effects of physical activity even if they get a stroke,’ Krarup said. Dr. Norman M. Kaplan, a clinical professor in the Division of Hypertension at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, thinks exercise is an important component to reducing the number and severity of strokes. ‘Regular physical activity has repeatedly been proven to have multiple cardiovascular benefits that could reduce both the frequency and severity of strokes," Kaplan said. "These include a lowering of blood pressure, improvement of vascular endothelial function, and prevention of obesity.’ ‘This article provides good evidence for these benefits and should further encourage all people to exercise to reduce the likelihood of strokes,’ Kaplan added. Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, director of the Duke University Stroke Center, said that living a healthy lifestyle can significantly cut the risk of stroke. ‘The importance of getting regular exercise is part of primary stroke prevention,’ Goldstein said. The other factors include eating a healthful diet, maintaining a lean body, not smoking, and restricting alcohol, he said. ‘People who follow all of these healthy lifestyle habits have about an 80 percent reduction in the risk of stroke,’ Goldstein said. ‘There is nothing we do that is associated with an 80 percent reduction in the risk of stroke medically.’”

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