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Fitness May Lower Stroke Risk March 4, 2008

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Erica Cline at 706/828-2225.

Moderate Level of Aerobic Fitness May Lower Stroke Risk

A moderate level of aerobic fitness can significantly reduce stroke risk for men and women, according to a large, long-running study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

Sheila Kamath, manager of University Hospital's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program, noted that exercise plays an important part in overall cardiovascular health, especially for those with cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as diabetes, heredity, age and high blood pressure. University's Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program includes supervised exercise as a way to strengthen the cardiovascular systems of those who have had a stroke or heart attack, as well as help others make lifestyle changes that might help them avoid a stroke in the future.

About 780,000 U.S. adults suffer a stroke each year, and stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. It’s often fatal, claiming about 150,000 lives and ranking as the No. 3 cause of death. Researchers analyzed data on more than 60,000 people — 46,405 men and 15,282 women who participated in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study between 1970 and 2001 at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

The overall stroke risk dropped substantially at the moderate CRF level, with the protective effect persisting nearly unchanged through higher fitness levels. That corresponds to 30 minutes or more of brisk walking, or an equivalent aerobic activity, five days a week.

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