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Extreme heat worsens mental health

Extreme heat worsens mental health

An elderly woman sits infront of an electric fan to cool down

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Extreme heat has been linked to a variety of adverse effects on mental health. Jimena Roquero/Stocksy
  • A large study of data in the United States shows that extreme heat days are more likely to result in mental health issues being treated in emergency departments.
  • This is in addition to the growing evidence that heat waves caused by climate change can worsen mental health conditions.
  • These findings could help public health officials to prevent mental health problems from worsening in high-temperature individuals.

A study that examined medical data from more 2 million Americans revealed that extreme heat in summer was associated with higher rates at the emergency department for mental health conditions.

The increasing frequency of extreme heat events due to climate change could have adverse mental health consequences.

Co-author of the study Dr. Amruta Nori-SarmaAccording to a Boston University School of Public Health assistant professor of environment health, Medical News Today that “Most people already know that very hot days put them at risk of physical health problems like heat stroke and Dehydration.”

“The key takeaway from our study is that days of extreme heat are also linked to a higher risk of needing care for mental health conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, substance use, and self-harm.”

Dr. Eun Hye Enki Yoo, an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo’s Department of Geography, who was not involved in the study, told MNT, “Given the scale (the geographical extent) of the study, their findings have significant implications for public health interventions to minimize the health consequences of extreme temperature and for the prediction of potential adverse health effects in rapidly worsening climate-changing scenarios.”

The journal publishes the study. JAMA Psychiatry.

Previous studiesStudies have shown that higher ambient temperatures can increase the risk of hospitalization due metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

Additionally, high temperatures are associated with higher mortality. Some estimates suggest extreme heat may be a factor. 356,000 deaths worldwide in 2019.

Elevated temperatures can also have negative effects on mental health. StudiesStudies have shown that hotter weather is associated with worsening of mental health symptoms. An increasein emergency department visits.

These studies often had small sample sizes, or were restricted to certain geographic regions or populations. This can impact the reliability and generalizability.

These concerns were addressed by the current study which used national data to examine the relationship between elevated ambient temperatures, mental health conditions and emergency department visits.

The researchers used a database that contained de-identified medical information from people who had commercial or personal incomes between 2010 and 2019. Medicare AdvantageHealth insurance. There were 2,775 counties in the country that were represented by health insurance.

The team was able to obtain information from medical insurance claims about 2,243,395 people over 18 who were treated in an emergency room for a mental illness.

A database called “The Maximum Daily Temperatures” was also used by the researchers to provide data on the maximum daily temperatures in each county for the duration of the study. PRISM. They focused on the period between May and September, which is when most extreme heat events in the U.S. occur.

In each county, the scientists classified “​extreme heat days” when the maximum temperature was higher than that of 95% of the other days during the warm season.

The researchers found that extreme heat days result in an increase in emergency department visits for any mental condition.

Particularly, extreme heat days were associated higher rates for emergency department visits for conditions such substance use disorders and anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and mood disorders. stress-related disorders and self-harm.

This association was not possible.Personality and behavioral disorders.

The team also looked into whether age, sex, and geographic location were associated with an increased chance of mental health visits.

They found that men were more likely to visit emergency departments when they had extreme heat days than women.

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Geographically, the North was more connected than the South. The strongest association was between people who live in the Northeast, Northwest and Midwest regions.

The authors acknowledge that their study only shows a correlation between elevated temperatures and the likelihood of emergency department visits for mental health conditions — it does not establish causation.

The study also used maximum daily temperatures as a measure of an individual’s exposure to heat. However, factors such as activity and time spent outside tend to determine the actual heat exposure.

The study did not evaluate the effects of elevated temperatures on milder symptoms of mental health or on vulnerable communities in particular.

“We need to improve our understanding of how exposure to adverse weather conditions, including both extreme heat and cold, affect individuals with relatively mild symptoms of mental disorders. This national study was based only on a fraction of the spectrum of mental health issues,” Dr. Yoo noted.

“Mental health impacts of extreme environmental conditions, including extreme heat, on underserved and minority communities, vulnerable populations (the youth and the elderly), and individuals who cannot afford commercial health insurance, thus who were not included in the present study, need to be improved.”
– Dr. Eun-Hye Enki Yoo

In a previous StudyDr. Yoo and his colleagues found that these groups accounted for a large percentage of emergency room visits.

“A better understanding of these most vulnerable populations is important in developing effective interventions,” she said.

To understand the effects of cold temperatures on mental wellbeing, large-scale studies will also be needed.

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