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Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Toilet habits 'could cause stroke'
The position in which people go to the toilet could be linked with stroke risk
The position in which people go to the toilet could be linked with stroke risk
The way some people go to the toilet could be a matter of life or death.

Squatting may increase the risk of stroke, particularly if a person is defecating, researchers suggest.

Doctors in Calcutta, India found a third of stroke deaths occurred while people were squatting.

Results presented to the World Congress of Neurology in London showed how doctors started investigating when they realised they were seeing more stroke patients in the morning than any other time of day.

Doctors looked at records for 100 patients, and found just over a half the strokes were occurring between five and nine o'clock in the morning.

Position

The Calcutta team also found that squatting, whether defecating or not, raises blood pressure.

They say the rise was especially significant in people with hypertension, who already have a greater risk of stroke

They suggest it has long been recognised that defecation can bring on a stroke.

They do not say everyone should change to using different positions when they go to the toilet.

But they do suggest those with high blood pressure avoid squatting; and that doctors looking after people with hypertension measure their blood pressure during a squat as well as when they're sitting or lying.

The Stroke Association told BBC News Online it was not aware of any research suggesting squatting or defecating were risk factors for strokes.

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See also:

18 May 01 | Health
Stroke research warning
30 Apr 01 | Health
Female stroke risk after surgery
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