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Could blowing your nose lead to a stroke?

Risky activities: Drinking coffee, taking vigerous exercise, blowing your nose and having sex have been identified as the top four contributors to a certain kind of stroke

Drinking coffee, making love, getting angry or even blowing your nose can significantly increase your chances of having a deadly type of stroke, scientists have warned.

Seemingly harmless everyday functions such as going to the lavatory, drinking a can of cola or jumping when you are surprised, all trigger a sudden increase in the blood pressure.

This can lead to a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of stroke which is fatal for more than half of victims.

Some 8,000 Britons suffer a subarachnoid haemorrhage every year and it is most common in the middle-aged, particularly women.

The study, by Dutch scientists, identified eight everyday activities and bodily functions which are likely to increase the blood pressure suddenly, and risk this type of stroke.

It occurs when a weakened blood vessel surrounding the brain bursts and damages brain tissue.

Between ten and 15 per cent of victims die before they reach hospital, and 50 per cent are dead within a month.

Experts from the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands, surveyed 250 patients who had suffered this type of stroke.

All were asked questions such as whether they had drunk coffee, cola, been exercising or blown their nose an hour before the stroke, or if they remembered being startled or angry.

All consuming: Drinking coffee and cola can both cause strokes according to the Dutch study

Coffee tops the list of stroke triggers
Drinking cola came sixth on the list of stroke triggers

The patients were also asked whether they would normally do these activities at this time, or whether it was a one-off.

Scientists were able to estimate how much each activity increased the risk of the stroke. The study was published in Stroke, the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Lead researcher Monique Vlak said: ‘All of the triggers induce a sudden and short increase in blood pressure, which seems a possible common cause for aneurysmal rupture.’

In 2001, actress Sharon Stone suffered this type of stroke. The haemorrhage was relatively minor and she made a full recovery.

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