Heart failure cause? Research suggests cold weather could trigger the dangerous condition

Posted on Sep 29 2017 - 4:37am by admin

A decade-long study suggests an increase in elderly people being taken to hospital or dying from the condition could be linked to changes in temperature and air pressure.

Experts say elderly people with heart problems should avoid exposure to fog and low cloud in the winter as a precaution.

Results published in the journal Environment International showed a higher risk of hospitalisation or death between October and April, compared to May to September.

Professor Pierre Gosselin, of Laval University in Quebec, Canada, who led the research, said: “Doctors rarely take the weather forecast into account when treating or making recommendations to heart failure patients. 

“So with the extreme differences in temperature due to climate change we wanted to show how the weather is becoming a more relevant factor.

“Our study shows that exposure to cold or high-pressure weather could trigger events leading to hospitalization or death in heart failure patients.”

Scientists assessed 112,793 people aged 65 or older that had been diagnosed with heart failure between 2001 and 2011.

Participants were followed for an average of 635 days. 

During that time they measured the average temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and air pollutants in their surrounding environment.

A drop of 18F in the average temperature over seven days was associated with an increased risk of being hospitalised or dying of heart failure in about seven per cent of people aged over 65 diagnosed with the disease.

During a follow-up period, 21,157 heart failure events occurred, representing 19 per cent of those studied. In total, 18,309 people were hospitalised and 4,297 died.

In some cases hospitalisation and death occurred on the same day.

Prof Gosselin said: “Our study suggests exposure to cold or highpressure weather could trigger events leading to hospitalisation or death in heart failure patients.

 “They should avoid exposure to fog and low cloud weather in winter as they often accompany high pressure systems.”

Previous studies have shown drastic changes in the weather can affect the health of vulnerable people, including heatwaves.

Meanwhile, latest forecasts show Britain is braced for severe gales, travel chaos and power outages into the start of next week.

The remnants of two Atlantic hurricanes – Lee and Maria – are heading to the UK, according to new models from the Met Office. 

They will weaken before arrival but a yellow rainfall warning for Sunday and Monday has been issued, with up to two inches of rain likely across western parts.

Experts say it could be the most significant storm to hit the UK since Storm Doris ripped through the country in February,

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