New research: extreme temperatures may contribute to heart attacks Show Notes

Thursday, September 27, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Could severe heat waves or cold spells increase your risk of having a heart attack? Maybe so. 

Untied Press International is reporting on new research from Australia that found that extreme temperatures may increase the risk of premature cardiovascular disease death.

Lead author Cunrui Huang at the Queensland University of Technology looked at the link between daily average temperature and “years of life lost” due to heart disease.

He found that exposure to extreme temperatures can trigger changes in blood pressure, blood thickness, cholesterol and heart rate.

Dr. Huang says “With increasing rates of obesity and related conditions, including diabetes, more people will be vulnerable to extreme temperatures and that could increase the future disease burden of extreme temperatures.”

The research team looked at historical weather data from the city of Brisbane Australia and compared it to the rate of heart attacks in the area for the same period.  Brisbane has hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters.

They found that deaths from heart attacks increased when extreme heat was sustained for two or more days.

Given the fact that we often have heat waves and extreme cold here in the Midwest, this study is something that medical professionals should pay attention to. But it’s also important to remember that the Australian researchers linked the increased risk to obesity. 

So if someone you love is overweight, here’s one more reason to encourage them to get on the road to a healthier diet and more exercise.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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