Connect to share and comment

Sex, coffee and nose blowing can "trigger a stroke," researchers say

Coffee, sex, blowing your nose and getting mad are everyday triggers that can raise your risk of a type of stroke by causing blood vessels to burst, say researchers in the Netherlands.

Stroke study 2011 5 6Enlarge
A smiley face and heart adorns the froth of a cappuccino reflecting the romance of Rome on July 9, 2009 in Rome, Italy. With nearly 3000 years of history Rome continues to live up to its motto of The Eternal City for being one of the founding cities of Western Civilization. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Coffee, sex, blowing your nose and getting angry can all raise your risk of a type of hemorrhagic stroke by causing blood vessels to burst, say researchers in the Netherlands.

A study conducted on 250 patients for three years looked at the potential triggers that can increase blood pressure, leading to a rupture in the brain if you have an untreated cerebral aneurysm and potentially causing brain damage or death.

Researchers at the University Medical Center in Utrecht found eight everyday risk factors that raise blood pressure and are linked to bleeding on the brain, according to the study published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Coffee was responsible for 10.6 percent of burst brain aneurysms, according to the study. Vigorous exercise was linked to 7.9 percent of burst aneurysms, nose blowing to 5.4 percent and sex to 4.3 percent of cases in the patients that were studied.

Other risk factors included straining to defecate, drinking cola, being startled and being angry.

"All of the triggers induce a sudden and short increase in blood pressure, which seems a possible common cause for aneurysmal rupture,” said Dr. Monique Vlak, the study's lead author, according to the BBC.

"Reducing caffeine consumption or treating constipated patients with unruptured intracranial (brain) aneurysms with laxatives may lower the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage," Vlak said.

However, the study only looked at triggers for the burst aneurysms. General risk factors that lead to weakened blood vessels in the first place include smoking, being overweight and lack of exercise.

The U.S. Brain Aneurysm Foundation estimates that of 40 percent of the 27,000 Americans a year who suffer a ruptured cerebral aneurysm die, and most of those who survive are left with permanent brain damage, CBS reports.

Identifying potential triggers could be helpful to the small percentage (about 2 percent) of people with an untreated brain aneurysm. However, the general population shouldn’t worry about drinking a coffee. According to researchers, it would be more beneficial for the average person to stop smoking, lose weight and exercise.