Yearly start of daylight saving time linked to uptick in heart attack and stroke cases

Studies have shown an uptick in heart attack and stroke cases in the days following the start of daylight saving time.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Although many of us celebrate the later sunsets after daylight saving time begins, losing that hour of sleep can impact some peoples’ health.

Doctor Dawn Abbott is the Director of Interventional Cardiology at Lifespan’s Cardiovascular Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Brown University.  Abbott says, “There are different shifts in our circadian rhythm and times of days and days of the week when heart attacks, in general, are more common.  And, there’s definitely been studies linking time changes for daylight saving to increased risk in the first several days after the change.”

According to Abbott, the spring time change can be a bit tougher to take, compared to the fall time change.

Abbott says, “Investigators really found it was losing that hour of sleep, or that springing ahead, which was much more stressful on the body than say, the falling back.”

To make the transition easier, Abbott suggests going to bed earlier in the days leading up to the time change and keeping healthy diet and exercise habits.

Abbott says, “It’s not like a healthy young person is going to be under enough stress to trigger a heart attack, but in particular patients with diabetes, patients who have tobacco exposure, patients who have high cholesterol or hypertension, and in particular individuals whose risk factors are not well managed.”

Abbott tells ABC6 doctors also see an uptick in strokes around the time change, because they have similar underlying risk factors as heart attacks.

Abbott says, “People who are very healthy shouldn’t be overly concerned, but take this as an opportunity to assess your health risks and address any of those problems.”

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2022

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