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Risk of Cardiovascular Death May Increase in Extreme Temperatures

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extreme temperatures can affect your risk for cardiovascular death Zhanna Ocheret-RS/PhotoSpin

Now that summer is officially over and the morning air has the crispness that can only signal the arrival of fall, outdoor lovers may be breathing a sigh of relief.

It’s certainly no secret that summer, along with its extreme heat, is hard on the heart. The sun-lovers among us are well aware of the need for precautions to keep our heart healthy during the long, dog-days of summer.

Light-weight breathable clothing, an ice-cold glass of water, and a shady place to rest were a small price to pay for summer fun when the payoff was a heart-healthy summer free of heat stroke and cardiac events.

Now that the heat has passed, you can enjoy the outdoors and not worry about the impact of the extreme weather on your heart!

But before you exhale, you just may want to rethink that sigh of relief. According to the results of new study, extreme cold may be just as hard on cardiovascular health as extreme summer heat.

Research conducted in Brisbane, Australia found that extreme temperatures -- both heat and cold -- increase the risk of death from a cardiac event.

The Brisbane study is unique because it’s the first study to specifically examine the impact of average daily temperature on premature death due to cardiovascular disease.

Led by Cunrui Huang, M.Med., M.S.P.H., researchers compared average daily temperatures from 1996 through 2004 to deaths from heart-related disease which occurred during the same time period.

For purposes of the study, researchers used the hottest and coldest 1 percent of temperature extremes to calculate their findings. In Brisbane, heat waves were considered above 84.5˚F and cold spells below 53˚F.

As a part of study, researchers also measured the total number of “years of life lost” in Australia as a result of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that 72 years of life are lost daily per each 1 million persons, as a result of cardiovascular-related disease.

Average life expectancy was used to calculate the total years of life lost.

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Very interesting. I would have thought the opposite. Where the cold kind of takes some of the stress off your heart by your body slowing down. But it makes sense if you think about all the men that have had heart attacks shoveling snow.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Implant Dentist

October 9, 2012 - 3:37pm
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