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 Are you ageing faster than your peers? 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 Medical Scientists turn to aspirin to turbo-charge cancer immunotherapy Medical MDR-TB treatment comes closer, but not close enough Medical Electricity, better than chemotherapy? Lifestyle The dangers of smokeless tobacco Multimedia Doctors Without Borders (MSF) rescue migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea Medical Epileptic girl becomes Mexico's first legal consumer of medical marijuana From our sponsors Is your baby dehydrated? How to tell. Fifty and fabulous! There’s something newly cool about turning 50 Keeping your skin soft, moisturised and winter-ready Live healthier Your health » How well do you know the body? Your healthy liver lifestyle Are you healthy? Tell us about your health and you could win R5000. Up for grabs » Tell us about your health Stay warm when the lights go out Win R1000 in cash! Win an energy-saving Spindel Enter our competition and stand a chance of winning an energy saving Spindel valued at R2200!