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As world leaders discuss climate policies to bring down the global temperature, a new study has found a correlation between rising heatwave incidents and stroke. According to research presented on Friday at ESC Asia, emergency hospital admissions increased after the occurrence of heatwaves.

ESC Asia is a scientific congress organized by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology (APSC), and the ASEAN Federation of Cardiology (AFC).

"Climate change and global warming are worldwide problems and stroke is a leading cause of death," said study author Dr. Ryohei Fujimoto of Tsuyama Central Hospital and Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Japan.

"Our study indicates 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," Dr. Fujimoto added.

The study was particularly based in Okayama, a city in Western Japan, and included 3,367 residents. The researchers conducted the study amongst people of the higher age group (above 65) and tracked their appointments at hospitals with a complaint of stroke during and several months after the rainy season. The time period of the study was kept between 2012 to 2019.

Researchers quantified their study with the help of hourly data on outdoor temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and the average atmospheric concentration of particulate matter less than 2.5 mm in diameter (PM2.5). The data was collected from the weather station of the Japanese city of Okayama.

The researchers calculated the association between the temperature and stroke during the rainy season, one month after, two-month after, and three months after.

The study points out the maximum number of cases of strokes occurred after one month of the rainy season. The researchers claimed that for every 1-degree increase in the temperature, the chances of emergency visits for strokes rose by around 35%.

The study also went into the specifics of the type of stroke occurrence. With every 1-degree increase in temperature, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke rose by 24%, ischaemic stroke rose by 36% and transient ischaemic attack rose by 56%.

The results of “effect modification" were also strongest after one month of the rainy season and the likelihood of stroke rose by 31% with every degree. Effect Modification brings out the association between exposure (hot air temperature) and outcome (emergency visit for stroke) which can be different depending on a third variable (during and after the rainy season).

"The results of the second analysis 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," explained Dr. Fujimoto.

"Our 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," he concluded.

With inputs from ANI

 

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