New York City Air Quality and Increased Risk of Stroke

June 7, 2023
Polluted NY skyline

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Millions of people awoke this week to hazy skies and a dim red sun, its light filtered through smoke released by one of Canada’s worst, and earliest, wildfire seasons on record. More than 400 fires are currently burning in the country, leading to smoke conditions across Canada and in much of the US. As of Wednesday afternoon, New York City had one of the worst air qualities of any city in the world.

Hazardous air quality, often caused by pollutants and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, can indeed pose an increased risk of stroke.  Wildfire smoke is harmful primarily because it contains airborne particulate matter known as PM2.5. (The smallest grain of sand is still 40 times larger than a PM2.5 particle.) Short-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution can trigger myriad of health issues, including but not limited to: coughing, stinging eyes, a scratchy throat, a runny nose, chest pain, headaches, asthma attacks, fatigue, wheezing and breathing difficulties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More serious impacts to the lungs and heart are also possible.

Wildfire smoke exposure is also associated with increased rates of emergency department visits for numerous cardiovascular disease outcomes, including ischemic heart disease, dysrhythmia, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. Exposure can also have an effect on heart health, as the particles can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation leading to heart attack and stroke.

A stroke can be a life-changing event leading to permanent disability, memory problems, and other serious health complications. A stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain stops. As a result, brain cells die, causing permanent damage. However, with a timely and correct diagnosis, stroke sufferers can be treated and rehabilitated.

If you believe you’ve been misdiagnosed for a stroke, suffered due to a delayed stroke diagnoses, or you feel your doctor has been negligent in your treatment, we can help. Please call the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm at (212)869-3500 to speak with a stroke attorney about your claim.

New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys, We Can Help When The Unimaginable Happens

Some risk factors for stroke include diabetes, high cholesterol, increasing age, race, being overweight or obese, smoking, and family history. Symptoms often depend on what part of the brain is damaged, but frequently are headaches, change in alertness, confusion, loss of memory, muscle weakness, problems with eyesight, difficulty walking, and trouble speaking.

Within the standard of care, there are many tests or studies that a doctor may need to order or perform to allow for the early diagnosis of a patient’s stroke, such as CT or MRI scan of the brain; angiogram of the head; check for abnormal blood pressure; check for problems with vision, movement, reflexes and speaking, and order other magnetic imaging to check for abnormal blood vessels in the brain.

The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm has successfully represented clients who have had medical malpractice claims pertaining to a failure to timely treat a stroke.