Here Is Why Exercise Is Not Recommended For Individuals With Blocked Arteries

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A recent study suggests that exercise might pose a risk to individuals with blocked arteries, potentially leading to a stroke. Researchers from India warn that many people at the gym ignore the advice to consult a doctor before intense physical activity, which can be hazardous for those with certain health conditions.

Increased heart rate leads to stroke

The study emphasizes the importance of considering one’s medical condition before engaging in vigorous exercise due to the potential dangers of an increased heart rate. According to researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, a heightened heart rate may lead to a stroke in individuals with severely blocked carotid arteries. However, the study also reveals that exercise remains beneficial for promoting healthy blood flow in individuals with minimal artery blockages and those who are generally healthy.

The carotid arteries are responsible for supplying blood to the face and brain. However, they can narrow due to the accumulation of substances like cholesterol, fats, and other particles on the inner artery walls, creating plaque.

Detecting stenosis, a narrowing of blood vessels, in its early stages when plaque starts to accumulate can be challenging. Stenosis can restrict flow of blood to the brain, increasing the risk of a stroke.

It is important to note that increased heart rate in healthy individual can reduce the risk of stenosis by increasing and stabilizing the drag force of blood on the vessel wall. Unfortunately for patients already with stenosis this may not be beneficial.

Intense exercise not beneficial for individuals with stenosis

In the recent study, researchers simulated flow of blood in carotid arteries at three stages of stenosis and compared the effects of exercise-induced heart rates of 140 beats per minute with resting heart rates of 67 and 100 beats per minute.

According to the study author, Somnath Roy, intense exercise has adverse effects on patients with moderate or higher levels of stenosis. The exercise-induced condition increases shear stress at the stenosis area, leading to stenosis rupture and, which can lead to the rupture of the stenosis and the  plaque flow to the brain, leading an ischemic stroke.

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