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More than 500,000 stroke deaths are linked to extreme temperatures

Low temperatures caused 474,002 stroke deaths, whereas high temperatures were associated with 48,030 stroke deaths around the world in just one year.
More than 500,000 stroke deaths are linked to extreme temperatures
Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 11, 2024

As we continue to witness the earth's temperature constantly fluctuating, a new study reveals that climate change is playing a significant role in the increase in stroke-related deaths annually. 

According to a study published in the medical journal Neurology, in 2019, the number of strokes caused by extreme weather conditions, like chilling cold fronts and scorching heat waves, led to a staggering 521,031 deaths — a figure that has surged significantly since 1990.

"Dramatic temperature changes in recent years have affected human health and caused widespread concern," study author Dr. Quan Cheng said in a press release."Our study found that these changing temperatures may increase the burden of stroke worldwide, especially in older populations and areas with more health care disparities."

Researchers say they gathered data from 204 countries and territories and found that 474,002 stroke deaths were attributed to low temperatures, whereas high temperatures were associated with 48,030 stroke deaths across the world.

Furthermore, they found that men had a tougher time with temperature changes than women. For men, they showed a stroke death rate of 7.7 per 100,000, while women had a rate of 5.9 per 100,000. 

So why is this happening?

In the study, scientists say that cold temperatures make your body's sympathetic nervous system kick in, which constricts your blood vessels and increases high blood pressure, leading to strokes. Meanwhile, the hotter temperatures cause dehydration and thicken the blood, which can also lead to strokes. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 795,000 people have strokes each year in the U.S., and about 87% of all these strokes are caused by blocked blood flow to the brain.

SEE MORE: Experts warn climate change is making your allergies worse


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