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Studies link stroke with extreme temperatures, night-time heat

Harvard research links extreme temperatures to stroke deaths, with higher risk in low-income nations. The study analyzed millions of stroke deaths across 25 countries. Night-time heat also raises stroke risk, especially for elderly and women, according to a separate European study.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush @29_pratyush New Delhi Published on: May 23, 2024 17:03 IST
Heat Stroke
Image Source : GOOGLE Studies link stroke with extreme temperatures, night-time heat

New research led by Harvard University reveals that both hot and cold extreme temperatures elevate the risk of stroke-related deaths. This risk is more pronounced in low-income countries compared to high-income ones. The study analysed stroke-related deaths from 1979 to 2019 across 522 cities in 25 countries.

Approximately 3.4 million deaths from ischemic stroke and 2.4 million deaths from hemorrhagic stroke were analysed using data from the Multi-Country Multi-City Network, a global environmental health alliance. Ischemic strokes result from blood clots blocking brain blood flow, while hemorrhagic strokes stem from brain blood vessel ruptures.

Researchers found that for every 1,000 ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke deaths, about 11 were attributable to extreme cold or hot days. About 2.5 per cent of the coldest days were found to contribute to nine of the 11 excess deaths, whereas 2.5 per cent of the hottest days were found to contribute to the remaining two.

The findings are published in the journal Stroke. The researchers, however, acknowledged that the study was limited in its geographic scope in that rural settings and countries in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were under-represented.

In another study, published in the European Heart Journal, researchers found that night-time heat significantly raised the risk of stroke.

The researchers, including those from Augsburg University Hospital, Germany, collected data on around 11,000 strokes over 15 years in the region. Their analysis showed that extreme heat at night increases the risk of stroke by seven per cent.

"Elderly people and women are particularly at risk, and it is mainly strokes with mild symptoms that are diagnosed in clinics after hot nights," said the study's lead author, Cheng He.

"Our results make it clear that adjustments in urban planning and the healthcare system are extremely important to reduce the risks posed by rising night-time temperatures," said He.

The researchers also showed that the risk of stroke associated with high night-time temperatures increased significantly in the period 2013-2020, compared to the period 2006-2012. From 2006 to 2012, hot nights resulted in two additional strokes per year in the study region, while from 2013 to 2020, there were 33 additional cases per year, the authors found.

(with PTI inputs)

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