A Calgary-based family physician and urgent care doctor appeared on Canadian state media earlier this week to explain the alleged link between influenza, infection, and stroke.
When explaining the linkage, Dr. Raj Bhardwaj of the University of Calgary noted his recent surprise at discovering that there is now reportedly a “stroke season.”
What are the details?
Bhardwaj told CBC Calgary News that a stroke is ultimately when “the blood supply to the brain is compromised for some reason. It’s basically a plumbing problem in the pipes that supply blood to your brain. And there’s two things that could go wrong with pipes, right: they can get blocked or they can burst.”
Systemic inflammation resultant of influenza can reportedly help trigger these plumbing issues.
“It can make the inside of the pipes stickier. It can make your blood a little bit thicker, especially if you get dehydrated. And it can even put the heart into a weird rhythm called atrial fibrillation,” said Bhardwaj. “All of those things can increase your risk of having a stroke.”
While Bhardwaj was cognizant of the potential link between flu and stroke, he was nevertheless caught off guard by the alleged existence of a “stroke season.”
“I didn’t know about this either until last year, but it turns out that after flu season, about three or four weeks later, there is a stroke season,” he said. “Most of Canada is getting down off of a big hump of flu, so now we’re starting to see more strokes.”
Bhardwaj noted that he was not the only doctor in the dark about so-called “stroke season.”
“One of my colleagues actually mentioned that at work the other day and said, ‘Have you noticed how many strokes we’re seeing? It’s a lot more than usual it feels like,'” said Bhardwaj. “Anecdotally, we’re starting to see that.”
Holy shiat… “I never knew there was a stroke season after flu season, until my bosses & big Pharma told me there is a stroke season after flu season”.
So am I now allowed asking if people collapsing on air is a stroke? It’s the season, after all, right? pic.twitter.com/sa6DbPyRmb
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) January 21, 2023
Bhardwaj claimed the “good news is that getting your flu shot reduces your risk of stroke,” citing a study from the University of Calgary where he works as a clinical assistant professor.