Originally published February 21 2014
Study shows death from stroke may be related to weather changes
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A new study finds that dying from a stroke could be linked to meteorological conditions at the time of affliction.
Scientists presented their findings at the American Stroke Association's recent International Stroke Conference, which was held in San Diego Feb. 12-14. There, researchers said data indicate that rates of hospitalization and death from a stroke correspond to the rise and fall of environmental temperatures and dew points.
"Weather is not something people would typically associate with stroke risk," study author Judith H. Lichtman, PhD, MPH, said. Nevertheless, she added, "we've found weather conditions are among the multiple factors that are associated with stroke hospitalizations."
Stroke is the fourth-highest cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, causing about 1 in every 18 deaths. The American Stroke Association reports that nearly $74 billion is spent on stroke-related medical costs in the U.S. each year.
In conducting their research, Lichtman and her team analyzed medical records of 134,510 patients who had been hospitalized in 2009-10 with ischemic stroke -- a condition caused by a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to a part of the brain. The team then cross-referenced that data with meteorological conditions of temperature and dew point data from the same period.
The team found:
-- Bigger daily temperature changes and higher average dew point readings (which indicates higher amounts of moisture in the air) were associated with higher hospitalization rates for stroke;
-- Lower average temps were associated with higher stroke hospitalizations and deaths from stroke;
-- With each 1 degree Fahrenheit increase in average temperature, there was a 0.86 percent decrease in the chances of being hospitalized by stroke, along with a 1.1 percent decrease in the odds of dying in the hospital after suffering a stroke.
"This study suggests that meteorological factors such as daily fluctuations in temperature and increased humidity may be stressors that increase stroke hospitalizations," Lichtman said. "People at risk for stroke may want to avoid being exposed to significant temperature changes and high dew point and, as always, be prepared to act quickly if they or someone they know experiences stroke signs and symptoms.
"[F]uture research is needed to better understand the cause and effect of changes in weather conditions, as well as to explore potential mechanisms for this association," she added.
Other factors can influence the incidence of stroke and the risk of dying from a stroke, of course, per the American Heart Association:
Stroke risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled include: high blood pressure; cigarette smoking; diabetes; carotid or other artery disease; peripheral artery disease; atrial fibrillation; other heart disease; sickle cell disease; high blood cholesterol; poor diet; physical inactivity; obesity; and excessive alcohol consumption.
Another way to reduce your risk of stroke is by changing what and how you eat. As Natural News has reported, there are seven "power foods" that you can add to your diet that will help abate your stroke risk, no matter the temperature:
-- Tomatoes: They contain lycopene, a natural antioxidant. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio found that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were the least likely to have a stroke over 12 years.
-- For men, some chocolate: Stockholm's Karolinska Institute found that men may be able to reduce their risk of stroke by one-sixth simply by consuming one chocolate bar a week.
-- For men, whole grains: Research has shown that "higher intake of whole grain foods was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke among women," according to a study by scientists at the Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
-- Fruits -- like oranges: They contain flavonoids, which are known antioxidants.
-- Low-fat dairy: Of course, you have to be careful where you get your dairy products, but a recent Swedish study "found that people who consumed low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese had a lower long-term risk of stroke compared with those who ate full-fat dairy products," Time Healthland reported.
-- Magnesium: Data shows that magnesium-rich foods like beans, nuts, leafy greens and whole grains are linked with a lower risk of ischemic stroke.
-- Fish: The omega-3 oils in many fish can work to lower your risk of stroke, according to several studies.
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