Frequently being exposed to artificial light at night can trigger a stroke, latest evidence has revealed.

A new study has found that individuals who are regularly exposed to artificial, night-time light are more likely to develop health conditions that impact blood flow to the brain compared to those who are rarely exposed.

More than three quarters of the world’s population live in light-polluted areas, the academics have said.

Fluorescent, LED and incandescent lights are all examples of artificial sources of light.

Prior research has discovered that continuous exposure to artificial light at night can also trigger the development of heart disease.

Lead author Dr Jian-Bing Wang said: “Despite significant advances in reducing traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, obesity and type 2 diabetes, it is important to consider environmental factors in our efforts to decrease the global burden of cardiovascular disease.”

During the study, the researchers looked at the health outcomes of more than 28,000 people living in China.

They found that 1,278 people developed cerebrovascular disease – otherwise known as a stroke. This included 777 ischemic stroke cases and 133 haemorrhagic stroke cases.

According to the results, individuals with the highest exposure to outdoor light at night were 43% more likely to have a stroke compared to those with the lowest level of exposure.

In addition, the findings show that the participants who were frequently exposed to smoke, dust and emissions from oil, diesel fuel and wood were also more at risk of developing cerebrovascular disease.

People exposed to nitrogen oxide were also 31% more at risk of having a stroke, the study has revealed.

Dr Wang said: “Our study suggests that higher levels of exposure to outdoor artificial light at night may be a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease.

“Therefore, we advise people, especially those living in urban areas, to consider reducing that exposure to protect themselves from its potential harmful impact.”

Dr Wang added: “We need to develop more effective policies and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of disease from environmental factors such as light as well as air pollution, particularly for people living in the most densely populated, polluted areas around the world.”

Read the full study in the journal Stroke.

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