Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

Date:
July 29, 2014
Source:
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health
Summary:
When temperatures are extremely high or low, there is a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by heart failure or stroke. This has been confirmed by epidemiological studies.

When temperatures are extremely high or low, there is a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by heart failure or stroke. This has been confirmed by epidemiological studies conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, who have now published their results in the medical journal Heart.

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team of researchers led by Dr. Alexandra Schneider at the Institute of Epidemiology II at the Helmholtz Zentrum München examined the impact of extreme temperatures on the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease in three Bavarian cities and included both high and low temperatures in the study.

"Our findings confirm the results of our previous studies, which indicated that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions respond particularly sensitively to heat and cold," says Alexandra Schneider. "If you are aware of the effects of air temperature on health, you can identify population subgroups who are particularly at risk and take preventive action."

The elderly are particularly at risk

Dr. Susanne Breitner, Dr. Alexandra Schneider and Prof. Annette Peters evaluated almost 188,000 deaths due to cardiovascular disease between 1990 and 2006 in the cities of Munich, Nuremberg, and Augsburg. They were able to demonstrate that when temperatures rose from 20°C to 25°C or fell from -1°C to -8°C, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease increased significantly by 9.5% and 7.9%, respectively. While the effects of the heat lasted for one or two days, the effects of cold weather lasted for up to two weeks. Elderly people were most affected. The impact on death rates due to heart failure, arrhythmia and stroke was particularly striking.

The mechanisms that cause these deaths, however, are not yet fully understood. Up to now it has been known that high temperatures, amongst other things, can affect the blood-clotting mechanism (haemostasis) and make the blood more viscous, thereby increasing the risk of thrombosis. Furthermore, as decreasing temperatures have an impact on blood pressure, it can be assumed that there is a link between cold temperatures and the increase in cardiovascular events and stroke.

Preventative programs

"Our findings give an indication of the diseases that are responsible for the observed link between air temperature and death rates, and thus provide a partial explanation as to why some people react more strongly to heat or cold than others and are, therefore, exposed to a greater health risk on hot or cold days," says Alexandra Schneider. "These results are important in order to develop or adapt preventive programs and codes of practice."

The scientists plan to conduct further research into the mechanisms that may be responsible for the health effects observed during cold and, in particular, hot temperatures. They are also interested in possible interactions with air pollutants, which are required in order to predict the effects of climate change on the health of the population, especially in cities and in major conurbations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Breitner, K. Wolf, A. Peters, A. Schneider. Short-term effects of air temperature on cause-specific cardiovascular mortality in Bavaria, Germany. Heart, 2014; 100 (16): 1272 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-305578

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073642.htm>.
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. (2014, July 29). Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073642.htm
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729073642.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins