Study Warns of Alarming Increase in Heart Disease Deaths Tied to High Temperatures

Heat-related deaths from heart disease events like heart attacks and strokes may more than double by the middle of the century as extreme weather becomes more common, a new study found.

“Climate change and its many manifestations will play an increasingly important role in the health of communities around the world in the coming decades,” said the study’s lead author, Sameed Khatana, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a staff cardiologist at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in a statement. “Climate change is also a health equity issue, as it will impact certain individuals and populations to a disproportionate degree and may exacerbate preexisting health disparities in the U.S.”

Extreme Heat Days Will Continue to Increase

The heat index — which accounts for the way increased humidity can make the temperature feel hotter — reached at least 90 degrees an average of 54 days each summer between 2008 and 2019.

Each year, these extreme weather days were associated with about 1,650 excess heart disease deaths — deaths that wouldn’t have happened under milder weather conditions, according to study results published in the journal Circulation.

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