In California, the risk of going to the emergency department for certain conditions increases slightly as temperature and humidity rise, according to a study published in the journal Epidemiology, Reuters reports.
For the study, researchers at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment examined the relationship between heat and specific health conditions during warm seasons from 2005 to 2008.
They assessed 1.2 million emergency department visits during that time.
The study found that for each 10-degree increase in temperature, ED visits for a variety of conditions increased, including:
- Diabetes, which increased by 4.3%;
- Heart disease, which increased by 1.7%; and
- Low blood pressure, which increased by 12.7%.
In addition, ED visits for conditions diagnosed as heat illness or heat stroke increase by nearly 400% and visits for dehydration increased by 25% for every 10-degree increase in temperature, according to the study.
However, the study also found that for each 10-degree increase in temperature, ED visits for a variety of conditions decreased, including:
- Aneurysm, which decreased by 13.6%;
- Hemorrhagic stroke, which decreased by 8.4%; and
- High blood pressure, which decreased by 10%.
The study also found that certain groups of people, such as Hispanics, appear to be more vulnerable to the effects of heat.
Rupa Basu -- the study's lead author and an epidemiologist at OEHHA -- said the results of the study likely relate to how bodies adapt to heat (Grens, Reuters, 10/5).