Health

Excessive heat exposure can cause chronic health problems


Hrich officials from WEthe UK, Europeand Japan warned residents to stay out of the sun as the Northern Hemisphere experienced some of the highest early summer temperatures ever recorded. It is not only to prevent heat stroke but also to prevent the long-term consequences. When climate change drives summer temperatures even higher More than usual, medical researchers are beginning to find links between prolonged exposure to heat and chronic health conditions, from diabetes to kidney stones, cardiovascular disease and even obesity. enlarged. Richard J. Johnson, professor of medicine and researcher at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campusand is one of the world’s leading experts on the intersection of Heat stress and kidney disease.

Johnson said hotter days increase the risk of dehydration, which in turn can cause cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure and acute kidney injury. Over time, people with chronic dehydration are less able to excrete toxins, leaving higher concentrations of salt and glucose in the kidneys and serum. These substances are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and metabolic syndromea medical term that describes some combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and belly fat disturbing estimate nearly one quarter of US adults. As temperatures rise, it is likely that metabolic diseases will also emerge, along with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, he said.

Read more: What effect does extreme heat have on the human body?

Increased growth of kidney stones is another possible outcome of increased temperature. A 2008 research paper, published inside Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that an unforeseen outcome of global warming is the possibility of a northward expansion of the present-day southeastern US kidney stone “belt”, where heat and humidity are higher, and cases of kidney stones are higher. disease is currently concentrated. The risk of developing kidney stones is aggravated by drinking less fluid or losing too much fluid, both of which occur at high temperatures. The paper’s authors found that, based on projections of climate change-induced temperature increases, the proportion of the U.S. population living in high-risk areas for kidney stones would increased from 40% in 2000 to 56% in 2050 and to 70%. 2095. Even when kidney stones do not develop, constant exposure to high temperatures and dehydration – in agricultural workers, for example – has been shown in some cases to be the cause. irreversible kidney damageas described in a 2015 case study co-authored by Johnson and published in ScienceDirect involving sugar cane workers in El Salvador. “The kidneys are very sensitive to heat stress,” says Johnson. “It’s a barometer for health and climate change.”


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Johnson, author of the Nature wants us to be fat: The surprising science behind why we gain weight and how we can prevent — and reverse — it, is about to publish a new paper examining the links between dehydration and obesity, with obvious implications for people living in hotter localities. “When an animal starts to become dehydrated, this triggers the production of fructose from carbs,” says Johnson. Fructose stimulates the production of vasopressin, which helps to store water in the body. But vasopressin also stimulates fat production. He pointed out that camels don’t store water in their humps, they store fat. When fat is burned, it produces water. “Fat is actually used by animals to survive in the absence of water,” he said. Fat production is the body’s response to — and predicts — dehydration.

Johnson’s theory is that “climate change makes the body more susceptible to dehydration and heat, and in doing so it will trigger this chemical reaction so that when carbs are present, it produces more fructose and vasopressin.” . “You can actually induce obesity in animals by making them mildly dehydrated, so there’s a very strong link between dehydration, heat stress and obesity.”

Read more: Life is like being in one of the hottest cities on earth—Where it might soon be uninhabitable

Of course, dehydration is not an inevitable consequence of hot days. It can be easily prevented by drinking water – not sugary drinks – resting and finding shade. For people who work and sweat in hot conditions, that means regularly resting and rehydrating with sports drinks or electrolyte solutions to replenish lost potassium, sodium, and other minerals. through sweat. Johnson said: “Put on a hat. “Avoid the sun.” His advice sounds like any other health official and there’s a reason. Heat can kill. Sometimes quickly — heatwaves kill more people annually in the United States than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combine—And sometimes slow. “If you go to the emergency room with heat stressIt increases the risk of developing chronic kidney disease later in life, says Johnson.

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