Researchers involved: Strenuous exercise can increase the risk of blood clots

Researchers involved: Strenuous exercise can increase the risk of blood clots

The findings are important because people with atherosclerosis in the carotid artery do not necessarily know they have it.

The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck and send blood to the face and brain.

When fats, cholesterol, and other particles build up on the inner walls of the carotid arteries, they form a plaque that narrows the artery, known as arterial stenosis.

The stenosis restricts blood flow to the brain, which can lead to a blood clot. An increased heart rate in healthy people puts more pressure on the arterial wall and stabilizes it, which reduces the likelihood of stenosis.

However, it may be less beneficial for those who already have stenosis.

The Indian researchers used a computer model to simulate blood flow in the carotid arteries in three stages of stenosis: no occlusion, mild occlusion, and moderate occlusion.

They then compared the results to the effect of a higher heart rate, 140 beats per minute, and a resting heart rate of first 100 and then 67.

In the absence of atherosclerosis or mild sclerosis, an elevated pulse positively stimulates the condition of the carotid artery.

But the findings of mild carotid artery occlusion were concerning.

“Intense exercise has negative effects on exercisers with moderate or higher stenosis. A high heart rate can cause the stenosis to rupture, and damaged plaque can leak into the brain and blood supply and eventually cause a stroke,” the study notes.

Although the study involved computer models and not animals or humans, the researchers stress that anyone who engages in strenuous training with a high heart rate should consider regular carotid artery examinations.

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They also recommend that people with moderate to severe blockages in the carotid arteries, or who have a history of blood clots, follow an exercise program reviewed by a doctor.

The researchers pointed out that the findings may contribute to explaining the increasing number of cases of sudden cardiac arrest in exercisers who did not have symptoms before.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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