Expert warning: How extreme temperatures can increase stroke risk

ROCHESTER, Minnesota. High temperatures and high humidity increase the risk of heat-related problems such as dehydration and heat stroke. These extreme temperatures can also increase the risk of stroke in some people.

Dr. Robert Brown, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, says that if you or someone you know has symptoms of a stroke in hot weather, you should call 911 because a stroke is a medical emergency.

Does weather affect stroke risk?

“Weather and temperature influence the likelihood of a stroke, and often these are extreme temperatures, such as being too hot or too cold,” says Dr. Brown.

Or too much humidity. According to Dr. Brown, an increased risk of stroke may be due to exposure to extreme heat, humidity and cold.

“Factors associated with blood pressure, and even some factors associated with certain heart conditions,” he says.

A stroke is a medical emergency. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of recovery.

“There are several treatments available when stroke symptoms appear,” says Dr. Brown. “These include thrombolytics, or drugs designed to break up a clot in an artery that is blocking blood flow to the brain.”

Sometimes, some treatments can be applied to directly clear the blockage in the artery.

Symptoms include sudden onset of weakness in the face, arm, or leg; sudden numbness on one side of the body; sudden difficulty seeing, speaking, or understanding others; sudden unsteadiness or sudden severe headache that you have never had before. If symptoms appear, call emergency services.

Dr. Brown says when it comes to stroke, think FAST:

F – face down; A – weakness in the hands; Yes, speech difficulties; and T is the time to call 911 if symptoms develop.


Mayo Clinic Information
Mayo Clinic is a non-profit organization dedicated to innovating clinical practice, education, and research, and providing expertise, compassion, and answers to those who want to get well again. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for more Mayo Clinic news.

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