Climate change and air pollution are responsible for 25% of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, which kill 7 million people a year. These deaths and the broader effects of climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.
- Heat waves that affect human health may occur more frequently due to climate change.
- A national study of 1,420 people with chronic heart failure in France reports that rising temperatures during the 2019 heat wave were closely linked to weight loss.
- Weight control for this condition is important because weight changes can lead to pulmonary congestion, the leading cause of hospitalization.
Another of the pillars of this year’s campaign focuses attention on climate change and air quality as other risk factors for CVD. As the WHF points out, air pollution is responsible for 25% of CVD deaths, claiming the lives of 7 million people each year, and again it is the countries with the lowest incomes that are the most affected. It is, therefore, necessary to engage with immediate actions, such as walking or cycling to work, as well as long-term ones, such as supporting clean air legislation to help build a healthier planet.
2022 has seen record heat waves and climate change is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations. This combination of factors suggests that inequity in the care of cardiovascular diseases will worsen throughout the world. Climate change (and the corresponding air pollution) is already responsible for 25% of all deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, which claim the lives of 7 million people every year.
Professor Fausto Pinto, President of the WHF, said: ‘Millions of already vulnerable people are twice as exposed to extreme weather events and have little access to health care. World leaders must redouble efforts against the two biggest threats of our time: climate change and health inequity around the world.
Connection Between Heat Waves and Weight Loss
The study took place in France in 2019, a year marked by extreme heat waves across Europe. Between June and September of that year, a time period that included two extreme heat events, the researchers used a telemonitoring system to track how heat affected the weight of people with a history of heart failure.
In heart failure patients, the study explained, weight is the cornerstone of health monitoring because weight gain is related to congestion, the main reason for hospital admission. The study authors hypothesized that the body weight of heart failure patients might change during a heat wave.
The study included 1,420 people with a history of heart failure, 70% of whom were men. The average age of the participants was 73 years. In addition to tracking weight via telemonitoring, study participants were asked to report other symptoms they experienced, such as fatigue, swelling, or shortness of breath.
In the end, the data collection showed that as the outside temperature in France increased, the weight of the patients decreased significantly and their conditions worsened. Some patients who weighed 78 kilograms lost 1.5 kilograms in a short period of time, according to the study.
‘The weight loss we observed during the heat wave was clinically relevant,’ study author François Roubille, a professor at Montpellier University Hospital, France, said in a news release.
‘This study is the first to show a strict relationship between room temperature and body weight in patients with heart failure,’ Roubille added. ‘The finding is timely given heat waves again this year.’
Symptoms of heart failure:
The study said that when a heating failure occurs in a patient, the heart does not pump blood around the body and waste products build up, causing shortness of breath and fluid buildup in the lungs, legs and abdomen. Weight is the cornerstone of monitoring because weight gain is related to congestion, the main reason for the hospital admission.
How does the diuretic help?
Diuretics, also called water pills, are used to increase urine output and reduce breathlessness and swelling. According to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), patients should be informed about increasing the dose of diuretics or alert their healthcare team if they experience increased dyspnea or swelling or sudden unexpected weight gain of more than 2 kg in three days.
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