On March 13th, we'll be springing forward, setting our clocks ahead one hour. To some, this is a cause for celebration, as the days seem to grow longer. Others bemoan the lost hour of sleep. Those who are sad to lose an hour of sleep may be justified, and not just because we all know how important sleep is to our health. According to research conducted at the University of Turku in Finland, changing the clocks could affect our bodies in more serious ways than we realize.
You probably know that your body follows a circadian rhythm. What you may not know is that disruptions in this rhythm increase your risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. In an ischemic stroke, a clot disrupts the flow of blood to the brain. Because of this connection, researchers wanted to determine whether daylight savings increased the risk of stroke.
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In order to see if there was a link, the researchers looked at the strokes of 3,033 people who were hospitalized the week after daylight savings went into effect. They compared these to the strokes of 11,801 hospitalized either two weeks before or two weeks after the week of the transition. They found that on the first two days after the transition, the rate of ischemic stroke was 8% higher overall compared to the rest of the days. However, patients with cancer had a 25% increase in risk. And the risk for people over 65 went up by 20%.
The researchers weren't sure why daylight savings caused an increase in stroke risk. So they didn't have any suggestions for mitigating it. But I do.
To prepare for the daylight savings transition, be aware of the signs of stroke, particularly if you or a loved one is suffering from cancer or is over 65. Watch out for sudden numbness or weakness in the face or limbs, particularly on one side of the body; sudden confusion or difficulty speaking; sudden vision problems; sudden dizziness or loss of coordination; or sudden severe headache. Be especially mindful of these symptoms in the next couple of days. If you spot them, call 911 right away. Getting immediate treatment is essential in mitigating the effects of a stroke.
Just in case, it won't hurt at all and it makes complete sense to take a 360 mg aspirin tablet before bed on the night of the change and for three days after.
If you're at an increased risk of stroke, remember that you should be doing two things that are easy and can prevent strokes no matter what time of year it is. One is to take nattokinase 50 mg, two times daily, which you can get in Advanced Natto Formula.
The other is to take fish oil if you need it. To determine if you need fish oil, go to www.omegaquant.com and order the $79 test. The instructions will come in the mail with the test kit. If the results of the test indicate that your Omega 3 Index is less than 8%, you need to be supplementing with fish oil. In that case, I would recommend taking two Complete Daily Oils capsules every day.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD