Global Warming Hospitalising More People
by Alan Harten
February 24, 2009
The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reports in its March 1st issue a rise in older people hospitalised with respiratory difficulties in Europe because of higher spring and summer temperatures.
This problem may increase because of a growing older population and higher temperatures from a changing climate.
Researchers examined at least three years of hospital admission information in 12 cities.
They discovered that for each degree increase over 90 percent of a city’s Tappmax (maximum apparent temperature), respiratory problem related hospitalisations moved up by 4 percent.
Higher temperatures did not increase hospitalisations for neurovascular or cardiovascular complaints.
Increases in Tappmax above a certain level caused higher admissions in the elderly, defined as over 75, with respiratory problems.
Every degree Celsius rise caused 4.5 percent more admissions with respiratory difficulties in the Mediterranean region (Valencia, Barcelona, Milan, Turin, Rome, Ljubljana), and 3.1 percent more in Northern Europe (Paris, Budapest, Zurich, London, Stockholm, Dublin).
The report says there was no major connection between cerebrovascular and cardiovascular admissions and temperature.
It is recognized that higher temperatures can boost cardiovascular emergencies, so the latter result was puzzling.
However, the researchers think this may be because many patients die before they get medical attention after having cardiovascular attacks
In this time of global warming, more acute weather patterns and pollutants, such as ozone, will worsen chronic respiratory problems.
Health authorities have to halt this added load of summertime disease.
Plans for each city are essential, Dr. Michelozzi from Rome’s health authority commented.
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