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Extreme heat could cause heart-related deaths to skyrocket

Researchers have discovered yet another risk factor associated with climate change

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Photo (c) coffeekai - Getty Images
It should come as no surprise to consumers that consistently rising temperatures will affect the way humans live, but it will also affect our health in many ways. 

In a recent study, researchers found that extreme heat around the globe could increase the number of cardiovascular-related deaths. 

“While cardiologists and other medical doctors have rightly focused on traditional risk factors, such as diet, blood pressure, and tobacco use, climate change may exacerbate the burden of cardiovascular mortality, especially in very hot regions of the world,” said researcher Barrak Alahmad. 

Heat and risk for heart disease

For the study, the researchers analyzed rising temperatures and cardiovascular-related deaths in Kuwait, a country that has a traditionally higher than average temperature. The researchers evaluated heart-related deaths from 2010 through 2016 and observed what effect the temperature had on mortality. 

While the average temperature in Kuwait is a little higher than 82 degrees, the researchers found that temperatures have risen as high as 129 degrees Fahrenheit, which can make it difficult for consumers already struggling with heart conditions. 

Ultimately, the researchers learned that higher temperatures were associated with a cardiovascular death rate three times higher than normal. Compared to days when the temperature was more manageable, extreme temperatures increased the risk of death by nearly four times for working-age people, which is a huge section of the population. 

Study findings suggest that the risk of death was higher overall during periods of extreme heat, and the mortality rate was higher for men than it was for women. 

These findings are concerning, especially for consumers in the hottest parts of the world. The researchers plan to do more work in this area to try to create some prevention strategies, but their findings emphasize how serious the effects of rising global temperatures can be. 

“The warming of our planet is not evenly distributed,” said Alahmad. “Regions that are inherently hot, like Kuwait and the Arabian Peninsula, are witnessing soaring temperatures unlike ever before. We are sounding the alarm that populations in this part of the world could be at a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular causes due to heat.” 

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