“Climate change is leading to a rise in the average global temperature but also extreme cold in some regions. More than 70,000 excess deaths occurred across Europe during the summer of 2003 due to intense heatwaves,” said Professor Stefan Agewall of the University of Oslo, Norway.
The study revealed an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease in general and ischemic heart disease in particular.
“With a temperature fall of 10oC, from 5oC to -5oC, there was a 19% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 22% elevated likelihood of death from heart disease,” Agewall stated.
There was a 4% higher risk of new-onset ischemic heart disease associated with an approximately 11oC temperature drop, from 2°C to -9°C.
The relationship between cold temperature and death was pronounced in men and people living in poor neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the relationship between cold and new-onset heart disease was stronger among women and those older than 65.
Interestingly, heat was not related to detrimental effects in the overall study population. However, temperature rises from 15°C to 24°C were associated with 25 to 30 percent elevated risks of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke in people with heart disease.
“Patients with heart conditions should stay hydrated in hot weather and adhere to advice from their cardiologist on medication use. We can all check the news for extreme heat and cold alerts and follow safety tips from local authorities.”