Climate change and stroke: A topical narrative review

Anna Ranta, University of Otago,New Zealand
Janice Kang, Wellington Regional Hospital, New Zealand
Ali Saad, University of Colorado, Denver
Mohammad Wasay, Aga Khan University
Yannick Béjot, University of Burgundy, France
Maurice Giroud, University of Burgundy, France
Serefnur Ozturk, University Faculty of Medicine, Turkey
Jacques Reis, University of Strasbourg, France
Jeroen Douwes, University of Wellington, New Zealand

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The impacts of accumulating atmospheric greenhouse gases on the earth's climate are now well established. As a result, there have been increases in ambient temperatures and resultant higher frequency and duration of temperature extremes and other extreme weather events, which have been linked to a wide range of adverse health outcomes. This topical narrative review provides a summary of published evidence on the links between climate change and stroke. There is consistent evidence of associations between stroke incidence and mortality and increasing ambient temperature and air pollution. Associations have also been shown for changes in barometric pressure, wildfires, and desert dust and sandstorms, but current evidence is limited. Flooding and other extreme weather events appear to primarily cause service disruption, but more direct links to stroke may emerge. Synergies between dietary changes that reduce stroke risk and may also reduce carbon footprint are being explored. We also discuss the impact on vulnerable populations, proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms, mitigation strategies, and current research priorities. In conclusion, climate change increasingly impacts the stroke community, warranting elevated attention.