Doctor tells Canadian state media after flu season comes ‘stroke season’

A Calgary-based general practitioner and an ER doctor showed up Canadian State Media Earlier this week to explain the alleged link between the flu, infection and stroke.

as dr Raj Bhardwaj of the University of Calgary explained the connection, noting his recent surprise to discover that there is now reportedly a “stroke season”.

what are the details

Bhardwaj told CBC Calgary News that stroke ultimately occurs when “the blood supply to the brain is compromised for some reason. It’s basically a problem with the tubes that supply blood to your brain. And there are two things that can go wrong with pipes, right: they can be blocked or they may burst.”

Reportedly, systemic inflammation resulting from influenza can help trigger these sanitation problems.

“It can make the inside of the pipes stickier. It can make your blood a little thicker, especially if you’re dehydrated. And it can even put the heart into a weird rhythm called atrial fibrillation,” Bhardwaj said. “All of these things can increase the risk of stroke.”

Although Bhardwaj was aware of the possible link between flu and stroke, he was still surprised by the alleged existence of a “stroke season”.

“I didn’t know about that until last year either, but it turns out that after flu season, about three or four weeks later, comes stroke season,” he said. “Most of Canada is recovering from a big flu outbreak, so we’re seeing more strokes now.”

Bhardwaj noted that he wasn’t the only doctor who was in the dark about the so-called “stroke season.”

“A colleague of mine brought this up at work the other day and said, ‘Have you noticed how many strokes we’re seeing? “Anecdotally, we’re starting to see that.”

Bhardwaj claimed the “good news is that getting the flu shot reduces the risk of stroke,” citing a study from the University of Calgary, where he works as a clinical assistant professor.

The study in question published in the Lancet noted in November that influenza “is a common respiratory infection that precedes stroke.”

dr Michael Hill, one of the authors of the study, told Global News: “There’s a long history between infection and stroke — upper respiratory infections are associated with stroke — so it kind of felt natural to look into that.”

The study suggests that after adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, “recent influenza vaccination significantly reduces stroke risk”; an association that “remained across all stroke types.”

It found that strokes were reduced in all age groups and risk profiles except those without hypertension.

An increase due to lifestyle, weather or something else?

CTV News reported in December, a Canadian hospital, like Bhardwaj’s colleague, observed a “15 percent increase in the number of stroke patients who … arrived in the first six months of this year.”

“What we’re seeing is that there’s a measurable increase in the risk of stroke, and not only that, but also poor outcomes for patients who have a stroke in the winter,” said doctor George Dresser.

Dresser suggested that regular exercise, reduced sodium and alcohol intake, and a high-potassium diet could help reduce high blood pressure and prevent stroke.

However, Christmas sloth and treats may not be the only triggers for stroke spikes.

A Study 2016 The study, published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, suggests that “lower mean temperatures and greater diurnal temperature variations were associated with post-stroke hospital admissions.”

dr Roberto Alejandro Cruz, Neurologist at DHR Health, said KRGV in May 2021 that he had noticed an increase in patients aged 30 and older who had had strokes since earlier this year. That’s what the CDC found over 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the USA until 21.

While this particular study might help explain a winter or early spring “stroke season,” the researchers stand behind it a 2019 study published in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases suggest hot temperatures might otherwise trigger strokes.

They observed “an increase in [ischemic stroke] Prices relative to [intracerebral hemorrhage] during the summer months with higher insolation levels that cannot be explained by physiological measures indicative of desiccation or fringe concentration.

Seasonal weather patterns can account for strokes, but not necessarily a significant increase in some cases.

The New York Times recently reported that data from the “Vaccine Safety Datalink, a federal safety monitoring system, suggested that Americans age 65 and older may be at increased risk of ischemic stroke during the 21 days after receiving” the bivalent booster vaccine.

The CDC — which the majority of respondents in a recent Rasmussen Report poll said they want Congress to examine on their handling of vaccine safety — has announced that it is investigating whether the bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech reduces the risk of stroke for some recipient has increased. Despite the investigation, the CDC maintains that the risk posed by the booster shot is “very unlikely.”

Days after the CDC announced its investigation, Kate O’Brien, WHO director for immunization, vaccines and biological products, said, claims that “the best evidence is that there is no real association between booster doses of Pfizer in older adults and stroke.”

A scientific review Published June 2022 in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, noted that “Most of the evidence for stroke after COVID-19 vaccination is case reports, therefore the incidence of stroke after COVID-19 vaccination is not precisely known.”

The review added that “Most of the patients who had a stroke after the COVID-19 vaccination were women under the age of 60 and after the ChAdOx1-nCoV-19 vaccination.”

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Laura Coffey

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