According to a study, as little as 30 minutes of light exercise each week offers effective protection against subarachnoid hemorrhage, the most lethal kind of cerebral circulation disorder, with as many as half of affected patients dying within 3 months.
What is subarachnoid hemorrhage?
Subarachnoid hemorrhage is a potentially lethal kind of stroke as a result of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. This causes bleeding into the subarachnoid space that surrounds the brain, the area between the brain and the skull. This space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid that provides a cushion for protecting the brain. Blood in the subarachnoid space irritates the brain lining, increasing intracranial pressure, reducing cerebral circulation and damaging brain cells.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage risk factors
High blood pressure and smoking have been observed to increase the risk of an subarachnoid hemorrhage. Drug use, especially cocaine and methamphetamine, greatly increase the risk.
Exercise and subarachnoid hemorrhage
Scientific evidence on exercise and subarachnoid hemorrhage has remained scarce. This current study investigated the effects of exercise on the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage in a cohort of about 70,000 individuals. The results suggest that as little as 30 minutes of light exercise each week can reduce subarachnoid hemorrhage risk by about 5%, with this percentage increasing proportionally to the amount of exercise time. Moderate weekly exercise, such as a bike ride, or a 30-minute walk 4 times a week can reduce subarachnoid hemorrhage risk by approximately 20%, regardless of gender and age.
The study also showed how increased exercise helped negate risk factors of subarachnoid hemorrhage such as high blood pressure and smoking. Although smoking is the number one risk factor for subarachnoid hemorrhage, exercise reduced the risk for smokers twice as much as the rest of the participants.
Although there isn’t any accurate scientific evidence of exercise’s biological mechanism of action in terms of subarachnoid hemorrhage, the reduction in risk is more than likely associated with a reduced systemic inflammatory state, which also affects the cerebral artery walls.