The human heart may be the latest known casualty of global warming, some experts attending a cardiology conference in Vienna say.
"If it really is a few degrees warmer in the next 50 years, we could definitely have more cardiovascular disease," the Associated Press quoted Dr Karin Schenck-Gustafsson, a cardiologist at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, as saying at the European Society of Cardiology's annual meeting.
As the human body sweats in higher temperatures, blood is sent to the skin where temperatures are cooler, the wire service explained. This opens up blood vessels, increases a person's heart rate and drops blood pressure. This sequence of events can be dangerous for older people, especially those with heart problems.
Warm temperatures harden arteries
Dr Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University, likened the hardening of the arteries (called atherosclerosis) to rust that forms on a car. "Rust develops much more quickly at warm temperatures, and so does atherosclerosis," he said.
But because of all of the uncertainties about the effects and pace of global warming, and a lack of positive proof of a connection between climate change and heart problems, "there are too many unknowns to make predictions about how many more people will have heart problems in the future," the AP reported. – (HealthDayNews)
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