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Study: Extreme Temperatures Increase Heart-Related Deaths

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Outdoor thermometer on a hot and sunny day.  (credit: Ray Hendley/GettyImages)

Outdoor thermometer on a hot and sunny day. (credit: Ray Hendley/GettyImages)

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BETHESDA, Md. (CBSDC)– A new study finds that extreme temperatures increase the risk of premature death from heart disease.

According to the study published in the Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes journal, more people die from heart-related deaths during heat waves than drastically cold winters.

“With increasing rates of obesity and related conditions, including diabetes, more people will be vulnerable to extreme temperatures,” Cunrui Huang, lead researcher from the School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, said in a press release, according to MedlinePlus. “That could increase the future disease burden of extreme temperatures.”

The body normally cools itself by sweating, but during hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels which can lead to developing a heat illness.

Co-author of the study, Adrian Barnett, associate professor of biostatistics at Brisbane University, added in the press release to MedlinePlus: “We suspect that people take better protective actions during prolonged cold weather, which might be why we did not find as great a risk of cardiovascular death during cold spells.”

The researchers compared the daily temperatures in Brisbane between 1996 and 2004 with years of life lost to heart disease during that same period.

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