Hot weather linked to higher stroke risk in older people

Credit: Ethan Robertson/ Unsplash.

Climate change and global warming are worldwide problems, and stroke is a leading cause of death.

In a study from Tsuyama Central Hospital and Okayama University, scientists found emergency visits for stroke increased after a heatwave.

They found that older adults may be more susceptible to stroke after exposure to hot weather.

Preventative measures such as insulated housing and air conditioning should be considered a public health priority to protect people from this debilitating and life-threatening disease.

There is little information on the effects of high temperatures on the risk of stroke.

In the study, the team examined the association between heat exposure and emergency visits for stroke in older adults. The study included 3,367 residents of Okayama, a city in western Japan.

Participants were aged 65 years or older and were transported to emergency hospitals between 2012 and 2019 for the onset of stroke during and several months after the rainy season.

The researchers found that the link between temperature and stroke was strongest one month after the rainy season.

For each 1°C increase in temperature, there was a 35% greater risk of emergency visits for stroke.

When each type of stroke was analyzed separately, each 1°C increase in temperature was associated with a 24% elevated likelihood of hemorrhagic stroke, 36% increased risk of ischemic stroke, and 56% raised risk of transient ischemic attack.

The researchers also evaluated whether there was a possible “effect modification” according to the rainy season.

For this analysis, the reference period was the rainy season. Again, the relationship was strongest one month after the rainy season.

Compared with the reference period, there was a 31% higher risk of stroke for each 1°C rise in temperature.

The results suggest that environmental conditions immediately after the rainy season intensify the relationship between hot weather and stroke.

In addition to high temperatures, this period is characterized by an increase in sunshine duration and less rain, which may explain the findings.

Overall, the study suggests that older adults should try to keep cool during hot spells, for example by staying indoors during peak temperatures.

Public health systems can help by providing cool spaces for members of the public to escape the heat during the hottest months of the year.

If you care about stroke, please read studies about what are ideal blood sugar levels for preventing repeat strokes and heart attacks, and this healthy habit can lower stroke risk.

For more information about stroke, please see recent studies about therapy that could boost recovery from stroke and dementia, and results showing these 3 commonly prescribed drugs may increase stroke risk by 60%.

The study was conducted by Dr. Ryohei Fujimoto et al and presented at ESC Asia.

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