News

    Heat Spikes Increase Elderly Death Risk

    People with chronic medical conditions are most vulnerable

    When summer temperatures spike, older people who've been hospitalized for chronic medical conditions - such as with diabetes or heart failure or chronic lung disease - have a higher risk of death, according to a new study.
    When summer temperatures spike, older people who've been hospitalized for chronic medical conditions - such as with diabetes or heart failure or chronic lung disease - have a higher risk of death, according to a new study.
    Art Chimes

    Scientists predict climate change will bring more temperature spikes, which could be deadly to elderly people with chronic medical conditions.

    Harvard University researcher Antonella Zanobetti's team combined temperature records with data from the U.S. Medicare program, which provides health insurance for Americans age 65 and older.

    When summer temperatures got unusually hot, they found a higher risk of death among people who had been hospitalized for chronic medical conditions, "such as with diabetes or heart failure, chronic lung disease, or who survived a previous heart attack," Zanobetti says.

    Over two decades, they found that death rates among these vulnerable, older men and women were higher in years when there were more extremes in summer temperatures. And even relatively small increases in extreme temperatures had a significant effect on death rates.

    "For each one degree Celsius increase in summertime temperature variability, the death rate for elderly with chronic conditions increased between 2.8 percent to four percent, depending on the condition."

    The biggest impact, that 4 percent increase, was on people with diabetes. People living in poverty and African Americans were also more likely to die when temperatures spiked. The risk was lower, however, for people living in cities with more green space.

    Humans may be pretty good at adapting to different climates, but Zanobetti explains when you are elderly and suffering from a chronic disease, what scientists call thermoregulation may be more difficult.

    "The problem is that, you know, while people tend to adapt to the usual temperature in their city, they might have more difficulties adapting to these temperature swings," she says.

    The authors say this is the first study of its kind. If scientists' predictions of more temperature extremes turn out to be true, there may be a lot more research on this topic in the future.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora