New research suggests that hot and cold weather may affect the risk of heart disease. With the changing seasons, many people struggle to stay comfortable in their everyday lives, but this new study has found that extreme temperatures could be doing more harm than just making us uncomfortable.
The study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation analyzed health data from more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths that occurred in 567 cities in 27 countries on five continents between 1979 and 2019. It was found that for 1,000 cardiovascular deaths, days with extreme heat (above 86° F (30° C) accounted for 2.2 additional deaths, and days with extreme cold (below 20° F (-6.5° C) accounted for 9.1 additional deaths.
For people with heart disease, the most significant number of deaths was found in those with heart failure (2.6 additional deaths on extremely hot days and 12.8 on extremely cold days).
“While we do not know the reason why temperature effects were more pronounced with heart failure patients, it could be due to the progressive nature of heart failure as a disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Khraishah. “One out of four people with heart failure are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, and only 20 percent of patients with heart failure survive 10 years after diagnosis.”
This study helps to underscore the urgent need to develop measures to help mitigate the impact of climate change on cardiovascular disease. The number of people with cardiovascular disease who can be affected by extreme weather is alarming. As this study helped to show, people with heart failure were most likely to be negatively impacted by extreme temperatures, experiencing a 12 percent greater risk of dying on extreme heat days and 37 percent on extremely cold days compared to optimal temperatures.
Protecting Heart Health
When it comes to avoiding heart disease, the conventional advice has always been to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and nutrition. But this new study adds to mounting evidence that suggests exposure to extreme temperatures may also play an important role in increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. With so many risk factors affecting heart health, it is essential to take steps to help protect yourself.
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