Can blowing your nose lead to a stroke?

As if there weren’t enough things to worry about in our cancerous, super-storm riddled world, scientists are now warning that drinking coffee, making love, blowing your nose or exercising vigorously can significantly increase your chance of a deadly type of stroke.

In a study published yesterday by Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, they identified seven everyday activities that can trigger subarachnoid hemorrhages – like going to the bathroom, drinking a caffeinated beverage, or even being surprised – any event where your blood pressure suddenly spikes. Other, more intense, activities like blowing your nose or having sex can also trigger this increase.

And unfortunately, subarachnoid hemorrhages are deadly for more than half of its victims! They are most common in middle-aged women.

But – and it’s a big but which most of the articles don’t highlight enough – the risk is limited to those who already have a brain aneurysm. They are present in about 2 to 3 percent of the general population, but only 9 in 100,000 of those people ever experience an aneurysm rupture. If you do suffer from a brain aneurysm, drinking coffee raises aneurysm rupture risk by 10.6 percent, vigorous exercise increases the risk by 7.9 percent, nose-blowing increases the risk by 5.4 percent, and sexual intercourse increases the risk by 4.3 percent, according to the study.

To put this in perspective, the top causes of death in the United States according to the CDC are heat disease (25.4%) and cancers (23.2%). Coming in third, as the cause of 5.6% of deaths in the United States, is cerebrovascular diseases – which include the hemorrhages mentioned above.

So don’t give up the coffee, stop the sex and drop the exercise regimen just yet. Keep eating right, drinking in moderation, and sexing often. That intense increase in blood pressure is, in most cases, perfectly acceptable – and wholly wonderful.