About 1 in 100 heart disease deaths linked to extreme hot and cold weather

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In a study from the University of Maryland and elsewhere, scientists found exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures increases a heart disease patient’s risk of dying.

The global analysis of more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths over 40 years measured more deaths on days when temperatures were at their highest or lowest compared to more moderate climate days.

The study underscores the urgent need to develop measures that will help our society mitigate the impact of climate change on cardiovascular disease.

In the study, the team found among the types of cardiovascular disease, people with heart failure were most likely to be negatively impacted by very cold and very hot days, experiencing a 12 percent greater risk of dying on extreme heat days compared to optimal temperature days in a specific city.

Extreme cold increased the risk of heart failure deaths by 37 percent.

The team’s findings were based on an analysis of health data from more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths that occurred in 567 cities in 27 countries on 5 continents between 1979 and 2019.

The definition of extreme weather differed from city to city. It was defined as the top 1 percent or bottom 1 percent of the “minimum mortality temperature,” which is the temperature at which the lowest death rate is achieved.

For every 1,000 cardiovascular deaths, the researchers found that extreme hot days (above 86° F (30° C) in Baltimore) accounted for 2.2 additional deaths.

Extreme cold days (below 20° F (-6.5° C) in Baltimore) accounted for 9.1 additional deaths.

Of the types of heart diseases, the greatest number of additional deaths was found for people with heart failure (2.6 additional deaths on extreme hot days and 12.8 on extreme cold days).

Climate change has been found to cause weather extremes on both ends of the spectrum with hotter summers and colder winters.

The team says this study provides an indisputable link between extreme temperatures and heart disease mortality from one of the largest multinational datasets ever assembled.

The data can be more deeply mined to learn more about the role of health disparities and genetic predispositions that make some populations more vulnerable to climate change.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about major cause of deadly heart rhythm disorders, and Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how COVID-19 damages the heart, and Vitamin C linked to lower risk of heart failure.

The study was conducted by Haitham Khraishah et al and published in Circulation.

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