We all know that global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment and can influence our communities in the future. But do you know that extremely hot days have increased advanced kidney disease patients' risk of hospitalization and death?
It may sound unbelievable, but it is true.
Climate change could be deadly for kidney patients
Climate change is not just about future. It is here and now, and it is adversely impacting our community's health in more ways than we realize. A new study finds out that kidney patients will be vulnerable to the heat waves if climate change brings more hot summers more frequently.
In the study, the researchers compared the records of more than 7,000 patients at kidney disease clinics in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, with extreme heat events in those cities from 2001 to 2012.
It turned out that rates of hospitalization and death during the hottest days were consistently higher, especially for black and white patients. But the findings were less clear for Hispanic and Asian patients.
It is worth noticed that patients with other health conditions were also at increased risk on the hottest days. These conditions include:
congestive heart failure
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Why hot waves can increase risks
Scientists do not know the clear answers yet, but they do notice that one of the body's responses to heat—lowered blood pressure—can be a problem for advanced kidney disease patients.
In addition, ordinary people can quench thirst easily in hot days, but it will bring problems for patients who have to strictly manage fluid intake.
Extreme heat events are particularly harmful to the most vulnerable individuals. Therefore, community-specific adaptation strategies are needed to protect public health.
Some tips to prevent heatstroke
Step 1: Stay cool indoors and avoid going out
① If the temperature outside is too high (over 90 Degrees Fahrenheit, or 32.2 Degrees Celsius), try to avoid going out, stay in your home, a vehicle, or a building with air condition on. Normally you can find these places on public transportation, malls, libraries, community centers, and other public buildings.
② Drink extra water to keep yourself hydrated.
③ If you know a relative or friend who does not have air conditioning, phone them to check their conditions.
Step 2: Take precautions outdoors
① If you have to go out in a high-temperature weather, try to avoid out between 10 am and 3 pm, which are generally the hottest hours of the day.
② Cool down your vehicle if you are driving. Open all the doors at least five minutes before starting the car for ventilation. Don't drive without the air condition on if the temperature is too high. Try to park in a shaded area too.
③ Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of cotton or linen.
④ Stay hydrated. Drink water before going out help prevent dehydration.
⑤ Never leave a child in the car. The temperature in the car can reach a deadly one of 110°F or 43.3°C even when the temperature outside is only warm.
Step 3: Act on the early symptoms (Click on the link to read)