Is Stroke Risk Amplified by Daylight Savings?

Can Daylight Savings Affect Stroke Risk?

By Will Reid, 9:00 am on

A recent study in Finland found that people are more likely to experience a stroke in the two days following the transition to daylight savings time (DST) than they are at other times of the year. This may be due to the disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. The following information will help Cincinnati stroke caregivers understand the findings and better care for their loved ones.

Circadian Rhythms and Stroke Risk

Circadian rhythm is otherwise known as the body’s natural clock and it affects a number of critical functions such as the regulation of sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, and metabolic processes. While there is an internal aspect to a person’s circadian rhythm, it is also greatly impacted by environmental factors such as periods of light and darkness. Previous research has shown that disruptions to circadian rhythm increases stroke risk, and scientists have often wondered if DST disrupts rhythms enough to impact the rate of stroke occurrence.

Stroke Risk Increased During Daylight Savings

Researchers in Finland examined a decade’s worth of stroke data and found that the rate of ischemic stroke, stroke caused by a blood clot, increased by eight percent in the two days following the beginning of daylight savings time. Most notably, the rate of ischemic stroke among people over age 65 significantly increased by 20 percent. While further research is still needed, researchers believe that this is due to the disruption DST has on circadian rhythms.

Implications for Seniors

This study shows that seniors are at a significantly greater risk for ischemic stroke during a daylight savings time transition. Post-stroke caregivers in Cincinnati should be extra vigilant for the symptoms of stroke in their loved ones in the two days following DST. These include sudden numbness or weakness in the hands, face, or limbs, confusion, trouble breathing, loss of vision, and dizziness. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms in your loved one.

Daylight savings time can disrupt circadian rhythms and increase the risk of ischemic stroke, especially in seniors. This could be even more problematic for seniors who have already experienced stroke and receive post-stroke home care in Cincinnati. To help your loved one recover efficiently from stroke and prevent others from occuring, turn to Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati. Our team of highly trained caregivers helps seniors recuperate from stroke in the comfort of home while offering assistance with daily activities such as mobility support and training, personal care, and even housekeeping. Call us today at 513.891.2273 to speak with a compassionate Care Manager about scheduling a free consultation.