Abrupt changes in body position can trigger stroke

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 8 Sudden movements as simple as jumping when the doorbell rings can trigger ischemic stroke, according to a preliminary study presented today at the American Stroke Associations 27th International Stroke Conference. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association.

Abrupt changes in body position caused by sudden loud noises, calls for help or other unexpected events occurred within two hours of stroke onset in more than one-fifth of the stroke patients we studied, says Silvia Koton, M.Occ.H., R.N., of the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. They occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow in an artery to the brain.

Researchers assessed the potential stroke-triggering effects of emotional stress, anger, sudden physical effort, sudden changes in environmental temperature and sudden changes in body position. By comparing activities the day of the stroke to the previous day, participants acted as their own control group, making this a prospective case-crossover study.

The relative risk of stroke among patients exposed to at least one trigger during a two-hour hazard period preceding the stroke was more than seven times higher compared to similar exposures during the same two-hour period the day before the stroke.

The stimulus with the highest risk was a sudden change in body position or posture. Negative emotional stress/anger was second highest.

Several studies have examined the triggering effect of selected personal and environmental factors on the risk of heart attacks. It has been shown, for example, that heavy physical exertion can trigger a heart attack within less than an hour, probably by dislodging fragments of plaque from the arteries, which then block blood supply to the heart. But until now it hasnt been clear whether similar factors act as triggers for ischemic stro

Contact: Carole Bullock or Bridgette McNeill
American Heart Association

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