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 How your body changes after 50 More: Ageing wellNews SPONSORED: So many prizes! Click through and see our fantastic competitions. advertisement Get a quote 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 Lifestyle How drinking devastates the Western Cape Lifestyle Does everybody hate Earth Hour? News "My husband won't have sex with after the birth of our first child" Lifestyle Google says you might die soon...from a sore throat Parenting 4 Danger signs in children you should not miss Parenting Three reasons why wool is good for your health Live healthier Hypertension » Salt may be bad for more than blood pressure Regularly salting foods heightens death risk How potassium fights high blood pressure Are you eating too much salt? Did you know that high blood pressure affects as many as 25% of adult South Africans? Do you have a sweet tooth? » What’s SA’s most sugary drink? Craving sugar? Blame your brain WHO says we're eating too much sugar 10 foods with hidden sugar Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you might still be eating far more sugar than you think.