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Extreme High Temps More Than Double Cardiovascular Deaths

Extreme temperatures — 109 degrees — seen frequently in some parts of the world raise risks from climate change

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The risk for cardiovascular death is more than doubled during extreme high temperatures, according to a research letter published online March 30 in Circulation.

Barrak Alahmad, M.B.Ch.B., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues assessed the effects of extreme ambient temperatures in Kuwait on cardiovascular-specific daily mortality using death certificates during a seven-year period (2010 to 2016).

The researchers found there was a total of 15,609 cardiovascular deaths during the study period with an average rate of 6.2 cardiovascular deaths per day. The minimum mortality temperature (temperature associated with lowest mortality) was 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F), while the extreme temperature (99th percentile) was 108.9 degrees F. At the extreme temperature, the relative risk for dying from a cardiovascular cause was 3.09 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.72 to 5.55) compared with the minimum mortality temperature. The relative risk for dying from a cardiovascular cause among men was 3.53 (95 percent CI, 1.74 to 7.16), and among women, it was 2.36 (95 percent CI, 0.83 to 6.66). The relative risk was 3.84 (95 percent CI, 1.57 to 7.70) for individuals aged 15 to 64 years versus 2.29 for adults ≥65 years (95 percent CI, 0.96 to 5.48).

“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,” Alahmad said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical technology industry.

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