SEP 13, 2022 9:00 AM PDT

Extreme Weather Threatens Heart Health

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2022 has linked both unusually cold and unusually hot weather to heart disease deaths.

The analysis included almost 2.3 million adults from across Europe, with data collected between 1994 and 2010. Daily average temperatures were recorded at the participants’ home addresses based on local weather stations or estimated using modeling of temperature data from nearby weather stations. Death registries, disease registries, and follow-up surveys were used to collect data on deaths and the onset of heart disease among participants. At the start of the study, participants both with and without heart disease were included and noted.

The researchers analyzed relationships between the daily temperature and the occurrence of heart disease or death. They found that cold weather was associated with higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a higher chance of new-onset ischemic heart disease. A temperature drop of about 10° C, from 5° C to -5° C, was associated with a 19% higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease overall and a 22% higher risk of death due to ischemic heart disease. The relationship between cold weather and death was particularly strong in neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status. Heat was not related to higher risk for the overall study population, but those who had heart disease at baseline had a higher risk of stroke and death due to cardiovascular disease when temperatures rose.

Climate change has led to an increased frequency of heatwaves as well as periods of extreme cold in some regions, both of which could be detrimental to heart health. The authors of the study noted that this information may help doctors and heart disease patients avoid risk by staying inside on days with very hot or very cold weather.

Sources: Science Daily

About the Author
PhD in Biophysics
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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