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 » 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 NEXT ON HEALTH24X Need motivation? Joel Stransky stood on the podium at the Cape Epic, a year after being in ICU 2018-04-12 10:30 More: Ageing wellNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Diet and nutrition Africa needs to address multiple food issues to end hunger News Your neighbour's backyard chickens might carry salmonella risk Diet and nutrition 10 of the most extreme and dangerous weight-loss methods News ‘I feel so honoured I was able to help save his life’: Daughter donates kidney to dying father News Mysterious illness turns energetic pole dancer into a fatigued ‘gran’ News Meet the dog that’s allergic to humans From our sponsors WIN a R2 000 beauty voucher! Understanding diabetes self-management Fed up with the Phlemings? Let’s chat diabetes and erectile dysfunction Live healthier FYI » When the flu turns deadly Why the flu makes you feel so miserable Could a deadly flu strain hit SA this winter? Following an intense flu season in the US and UK, should we be worried about our own upcoming flu season? Alcohol and acne » Dagga vs alcohol: Which is worse? SEE: Why you are drinking more alcohol than you realise Does alcohol cause acne? Some foods can be a trigger for acne, but what about alcohol? Dermatologist Dr Nerissa Moodley weighs in.