Home > Lifestyle > Ageing well > News 08 March 2013 Outdoor heat increases hospitalisation in elderly Outdoor heat is associated with a significantly increased risk of emergency hospitalisation for respiratory disorders in the elderly, says study. 0 iStock Sign up for the newsletter » Quiz How long will you live? » Ask DietDoc » Ask CyberDoc » Celebrity ageing Plastic surgery trend on arms Outdoor heat is associated with a significantly increased risk of emergency hospitalisation for respiratory disorders in the elderly, according to a large epidemiological study of more than 12.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. "While outdoor heat has been shown to increase respiratory mortality, evidence on the relationship between heat and respiratory hospitalisations has been less consistent," said lead author G. Brooke Anderson, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "In the largest population of the elderly yet studied, we found strong evidence that short-term exposure to outdoor heat increases the risk of hospitalisation for COPD and respiratory tract infections. This relationship was consistent for men and women and across all age groups studied."The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.How the study was doneThe study included 213 urban counties across the United States and more than 30% of the US population aged 65 or older. Data on Medicare emergency respiratory hospitalisations were obtained for the period 1999-2008, along with measurements of weather and air pollution. On average, respiratory hospitalisations increased 4.3% for each 10°F increase in daily mean summer temperature. This association, which was not changed by adjustments for air pollution, age, gender or seasonal trends in hospitalization rates and temperature, was strongest on the day of exposure to heat and remained elevated the day following exposure. The increased risk for heat-related hospitalisation was similar for COPD (4.7%) and respiratory tract infections (4.1%), and tended to be higher in counties where summers are typically mild.Clear and consistent evidenceEach 10°F increase in daily temperature translates to approximately 30 excess respiratory hospitalisations per day among the elderly in the 213 counties studied, with larger increases in temperature expected to result in more excess hospitalisations. "Our study provides clear and consistent evidence of a link between outdoor heat and hospitalisation for respiratory disease in the elderly," said senior author Dr. Roger D. Peng, associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "As the prevalence of respiratory conditions and the age of the population continue to increase and global temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, the risk of heat-related respiratory disease is also likely to increase." EurekAlert More in Lifestyle Facelifts may make women 'seem' more likable More: Ageing wellNews advertisement Get a quote Fedhealth - What cover is right for you? Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Mental health Is Schumacher's family selling off assets to pay for his medical costs? Medical What South Africa's youth are dying from Lifestyle Medicinal dagga: the dangers can't be ignored Diet and nutrition How diet and physical activity affect brain function – Part II Diet and nutrition Low-fat diets are dead. They only drive us to sugar. Medical Mom's diabetes control in pregnancy may affect kids' brains From our sponsors Soothe your family’s coughs and colds Why hydration is important while exercising Taking charge of your health Man, take care of your health! Live healthier Up for grabs! » Knee pain caused by a sports injury? Knee pain may run in the family Strengthen your ankles Win free gel to help with joint pain 100 lucky readers can each win a pack of FLEXISEQ gel valued at R300! Winter wellness » Don't overdose on salt this winter In praise of the blanket Keep your feet happy in winter Stay in tip top condition this winter Boost your health with our winter wellness guide.