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Sex, coffee, cola all can boost stroke risk

Having sex and drinking coffee and cola among many other things could increase risk of stroke, a new study in Stroke - journal of the American Heart Association suggests.

To be exact, Monique H.M. Vlak, M.D., of the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands and colleagues found eight major triggers that often lead to  Cerebral aneurysm or intracranial aneurysm (IA), a condition that could eventually cause a hemorrhage type of stroke.

The triggers include coffee drinking, physical exercise, nose blowing, sexual intercourse, straining to defecate, being startled or angry, and drinking cola, which boosted the risk by 10.6%, 7.9%, 5.4%, 4.3%, 3.6%, 3.5%, 2.7% and 1.3 %, respectively.

"All of the triggers induce a sudden and short increase in blood pressure, which seems a possible common cause for aneurysmal rupture," said  Dr. Vlak.

AHA says in a press release that about 2 percent of the population have IA, but few suffer stroke.  The risk is that few people with IAs experience any symptoms like vomiting, vision problems, loss of consciousness, which are symptoms of a stroke.

The researchers found these triggers after they questioned 250 people with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage about three weeks before they suffered an event about the frequency and intensity of exposure to 30 potential triggers.

The study have its limitations and bias due to the nature of the study are inevitable, according to the American heart Association.

The study was meant to find triggers, but not the causes for stroke.  Also, the findings are not all consistent with previous studies.

A study published in March in the same journal suggests women who drank more than 1 cup of coffee a day were at up to 25 percent lower risk for stroke compared with those who did not drank.

How to prevent stroke?

An early study published in the same journal suggest that the risk for first time stroke can be reduced by 80 percent following a healthy lifestyle including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

Americans suffer more than 780,000 strokes each year.  Stroke symptoms include sudden numbness, confusion, trouble seeing, trouble walking and severe headache.

The National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke advised people should call 911 in case of stroke.


David Liu