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The claim: Global warming isn’t just bad for the planet—it could have a direct effect on your body. High daily temperature and humidity shifts are associated with an increased risk for stroke, finds new research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2014. (See how lower temperatures can actually benefit your health, here.)
The research: Yale University investigators cross-referenced local temperature and dew point data with 134,510 ischemic stroke hospitalizations taken from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample Database. They found that days with extreme temperature and dew point fluctuations yielded higher incidence of stroke hospitalization—regardless of region, season, or patient factors like high blood pressure or diabetes. Stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops.
What it means: Whether it's very cold or very hot, humid weather can cause significant stress on the body. As blood vessels work to adapt to quick, extreme temperature changes, blood pressure and blood clotting speeds can be affected and increase the risk for stroke, says lead researcher Judith H. Lichtman, PhD, an associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health. But it’s not a one-forecast-fits-all scenario: Rather than a specific high or low temperature creating a bigger stroke danger for everyone, “it’s about how your body may be adjusting to the changes where you live,” Dr. Lichtman says.
The bottom line: We often think of things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels as predictors of stroke, but the environment may be another important factor. And though it’s impossible to control polar vortexes or heat waves, we can be more aware of the risks posed by rapid temperature swings. “We can’t ignore the fact that more extreme weather challenges our bodies,” Dr. Lichtman says. “We have to be aware that under extreme temperature conditions, we should be more vigilant in looking for signs of stroke in ourselves and in our loved ones.” Here's what you need to know about the signs and symptoms of stroke.
A severe weather outbreak is closing out the first weekend of summer with damaging storms threatening parts of the central U.S.
Heavy rain is expected to continue to inundate much of India as thunderstorm activity makes a northwestward push towards the National Capital Region.
Severe weather is expected to continue to pester the Plains for the next few days, threatening millions with flooding downpours, damaging winds, hail and even a few tornadoes.
The northeastern United States will only get a couple days of dry, sunny weather before the next round of showers and thunderstorms rolls in at midweek.
Anyone in the Southeast hoping for a break from the warm, humid and unsettled weather will need to wait at least another week.
Persistent dryness and localized breezy weather may create difficulties for firefighters battling wildfires across the western United States early this week.
A storm will crawl through the northeastern part of the nation during the first weekend of summer with rounds of drenching showers and thunderstorms.
The severe weather outbreak that began in the southern Plains on Sunday will gradually shift eastward into the south-central United States and Midwest early this week.