Summer Temperature Increase May Be Fatal For Elderly
New findings from a research study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that even small changes in summer temperature may be fatal for the elderly with chronic medical conditions. Deaths may also be increased due to this terrible climate conditions.
There have been previous studies regarding the effects of heat waves but this study was the first of its kind to examine the long term effects of climate change on life expectancy rates. This study was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Antonella Zanobetti, senior research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH and lead author of the study mentioned that the effect of temperature patterns on mortality is not clear. It has been proven that independent of heat waves, variability to day to day summer temperatures can ultimately shorten life expectancy. The variability of temperature is seen to be very harmful in susceptible individuals.
The new study goes a step further in determining if heat waves can kill short term; it considers minor temperature variations caused by climate changes and its direct effect on elderly with diabetes, heart failure, chronic lung disease and the elderly who have survived a heart attack.
The research used data from Medicare from 1985 to 2006 which was data following the long term health of 3.7 million chronically ill people over the age of 65 which are located in 135 US cities. The mortality among these individuals were evaluated whether these were related to the variability of summer temperature and of course considering other factors like individual conditions, temperature variance and ozone levels.
Findings of the study were compiled and were compared from one city to the other showing that as the population’s age increase along with the prevalence of certain medical conditions, mortality rate among the elderly is increased.
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