Fatal brain haemorrhages can be potentially brought on by drinking coffee, having sex or even blowing your nose, a new study has found.
The activities were included in a list of factors that could potentially lead to a weakened blood vessel, or aneurysm, bursting in the brain, according to the research from the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, showed that the most high risk trigger factor was revealed to be drinking coffee, as it was found to raise the chances of a brain haemorrhage occurring by 10.6%.
Vigorous physical exercise followed in second with 7.9%, nose blowing was third with 5.4%, ahead of sexual intercourse, which increased the risk by 4.3%.
Other potential trigger factors included straining on the toilet, drinking cola, being startled and getting angry.
Dr Monique Vlak, the study’s lead researcher, said that one thing all the trigger factors have in common is that they bring about a short increase in blood pressure, which is a possible common cause for aneurysmal rupture.
The research looked at 250 haemorrhagic stroke patients who answered questions about their exposure to 30 potential trigger factors.
Relative risks were then calculated on the basis of brain bleeds being triggered by pre-ceding events.
Dr Vlak said: “Reducing caffeine consumption or treating constipated patients with unruptured IAs with laxatives may lower the risk of subarachnoid haemorrhage.
“Whether prescribing antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) drugs to patients with unruptured IAs is beneficial in terms of preventing aneurysmal rupture still needs to be further investigated.”
An estimated 2% of the population have intracranial aneurysms (IAs) but few of them rupture.
When they do, it often occurs without warning. Sometimes a rupture is preceded by symptoms such as vomiting, impaired vision, fainting and severe headaches.
- Monique HM, et al. Trigger Factors and Their Attributable Risk for Rupture of Intracranial Aneurysms. Stroke 2011; Advance online publication