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WINTER WEATHER: LIFE ON HOLD
Cold increases stroke risk for African-Americans
BY AMANDA JONES
Though it lasts only one quarter of the
year, winter remains the most high-alert
season for disease and illness. And, while
many people are aware of and prepared
for the threat of common cold-weather ail
ments - such as bronchitis, influenza,
hypothermia, frostbite, dry skin, and brit
tle hair - few are aware of the threat of
another, more serious winter ailment:
As reported by the American Stroke
Association, many medical journals have
conducted studies wherein "most of these
studies have reported that stroke incidence
peaks in winter" and "the vast majority of
stroke events occurred in the home."
Dr. Gerard Pitlol-Ripoll and
researchers for the Cerebrovascular
Diseases medical journal stated: "Many
mechanisms could explain this increase in
incidence during winter season: increases
in blood pressure, fibrinogen blood levels
and blood viscosity, and variations in cho
lesterol blood levels; however, acute
infections could be an important determi
Dr. Adrian Barnett from the Institute
of Health and Biomedical Innovation at
Queensland University of Technology
explained, in layman's terms, that:
"Exposure to the cold raises blood pres
sure because the veins and arteries con
strict, which puts extra stress on the heart
and circulatory system that can be a real
problem for people." This is especially the
case for African-Americans.who are
already at high risk for stroke.
According to the CDC, the risk of hav
ing a "stroke is nearly twice as high for
blacks than for whites, and blacks are
more likely to die following a stroke."
Moreover, the organization's .statistics
show that stroke is the third most common
cause for death in African-Americans,
with 34 percent of stroke-related deaths
occurring in individuals under the age of
65. This is largely due to the fact that the
major risk factors for stroke - high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking -
are frighteningly prevalent amongst
African-Americans. The CDC reported
that, amongst African-American adults,
about one in five smokes cigarettes (18.3
percent overall), about one in three has
high cholesterol (30.7 percent of men and
33.6 percent of women), and about one in
two has high blood pressure (43 percent of
men and 45.7 percent of women). This is
only worsened in winter with generally
increased poor diet, decreased exercise,
decreased vitamin D, and decreased
autoimmune function, which add stress to
blood vessels, making it easier for blood
clots to form and travel to the brain.
However, African-Americans can
lower their risk of winter stroke with a
few simple actions. Dr. Bamett suggested
that it "could be as simple as putting on a
hat and gloves because the peak season
for cardiovascular deaths is upon us."
Dr. Pelle O. Lindqvist of the American
Heart Association added that taking a vita
min D supplement or going outside may
help, since dark "skin acts as a sun shield,
and so pale individuals need less time in
the sun than more densely pigmented indi
Dr. Niro Siriwardena and researchers '
for the Vaccine medical journal also stated
that the flu shot "is associated with a
reduction in incidence of stroke" because
"stroke may be triggered by respiratory
infections, including influenza."
In addition, common sense dictates
that maintaining healthier choices in diet,
along with regular exercise, can also help
lower the risk of stroke during winter. .
For more information, visit
tions/REMP/black .html or www.strokeas
Don't forget your pet in cold weather
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Here are some tips on keeping your
outside pet warm and healthy for the win
?Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs
and stomach when he comes in out of the
sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt,
antifreeze or other chemicals while lick
ing his paws, and his paw pads may also
bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
?Consider getting your short-haired
breed a coat or sweater with a high collar
or turtleneck that covers the dog from
base of the tail on the top to the belly
underneath. This may seem like a luxury,
however to some breeds is a necessity.
' ?Adult dogs tolerate the cold much
better than puppies. If necessary, paper
train your puppy inside if he appears to be
sensitive to the weather.
?Increased food, particularly protein,
will help keep your dog's fur thick and
healthy. This is particularly important if
your dog spends a lot of time engaged in
"Coolant, like antifreeze, is a lethal
poison for dogs and cats. Be careful to
thoroughly clean up any spills from your
vehicle, and consider using products that
contain propylene glycol rather than eth
"Never shave your dog down to the
skin in winter. Leave the coat longer for
more warmth. When you bathe your dog,
completely dry him before taking him out
for a walk.
?Pets need a warm place to sleep away
from all drafts and off the floor, such as in
a dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or -
pillow in it.
"In the winter, outdoor cats sometimes
sleep under the hoods of cars. When the
motor is started, the cat can be injured or
killed by the fan belt. Before starting the
. engine, bang loudly on the car hood to
give the cat the chance to escape.
?More dogs are lost during the winter
than during any other season, so make
sure that they always wear ID. tags. If
you're in Forsyth County, it's the law.
Don't let your dogs
off the leash on
snow or ice. Dogs
can lose their scent
and easily get lost.
in our area hover in
the 20s at night,
your pet could suffer
frr\m hvrvtfhprmiQ if
there is not adequate
shelter from the ele
ments. In some
? cases when there are wet conditions, it
could be a matter of hours before symp
toms of hypothermia set in.
If you are a resident of Forsyth
County, and have an outside pet that needs
a dog house, the county has a limited
numbero to give away. Houses for
Hounds program was developed for the
purpose of providing free dog houses to
lower income Forsyth County residents.
UnChain Winston also provides free
straw bedding that can be picked up at the
Hk*> by Stayu Smith
Bella shows how dogs should be covered when outside in
the cold weather.
rorsytn county Animal conirui uurmg
normal business hours.
Also, the Department of Animal
Control's Animeals program assists elder
ly, disabled or lower income residents of
Forsyth County by offering free pet food
for their cats and dogs.
For more information or to send an
application for assistance for both pro
grams, you can visit the Animal Control
website at wwwiorsyth.cc/animalcontrol
and fill out the online application form or
call 336-703-2480 for more information.
Photo by Amanda
their friends i
Pbcto by Tevia Stiiuon
Sisters Karson and Harper Key enjoy sledding
in the snow that blanketed the Triad and entire
East Coast on Saturday, Jan. 25.
.Photo by Tevin Sanson
Cribb take advan
tage of their
by enjoying the
Photo by Tevio Stinson
takes a break
walkways in his
25, to pose for a
King for City Council
! "We Are Better 2Gether"
4 Hwto by Amanda Jone*
While trekking through the snow to their dorms, Salem College students can
admire the view of the sunset over the grave of Sister Oesterlein, founder of
Salem College, on Sunday, Jan. 24.
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