Science

Death Due To Cold Weather Reaches Record High For Older Adults

By Duna Bil , Dec 26, 2016 11:33 AM EST
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A recent survey on mortality rates discovered that death due to cold is increasing in industrialized countries. The main age groups affected are the older adults and the very young but more so in the older age group.

Across the globe, between 2014 and 2015, older people are dying for about 2 to 3 months earlier. It's a small shift in the previous pattern found in death rates but it's significant enough to warrant attention from medical scientists.

The main culprit, they found, is cold weather. Intriguingly, it's not the blizzard type of cold weather that is the responsible for such deaths. Instead, it's the regular type of winter weather.

To further examine this phenomenon, a global study was conducted to ascertain a clearer picture of how serious death due to cold weather has become, Watertown Daily Times reports.

Conducted and published in The Lancet, the study was an analysis of the deaths of 74 million older people that attributed extreme weather as the cause of death. The study looked at the high and low weathers across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Britain, and the U.S.

Interestingly, the study finds that when it comes to killing older people, ordinary and less extreme temperatures turned out to be more serious than heat waves and cold snaps. It is responsible for 20 times more mortality than in very hot or very cold weather.

Additionally, according to the Russian States Statistic Service, the top diseases caused by ordinary cold weather are cold, flu, and pneumonia. A 5.2 percent rise in deaths due to cold weather in 2015 was recorded compared to the previous year, Psychology Today says.

So why is ordinary cold weather dangerous? Experts say it is mainly due to the stealthy characteristic of this kind of weather. In heatwaves, for example, deaths occur suddenly and dramatically. In ordinary cold weather, respiratory-related symptoms such as cold, flu, and pneumonia develop slowly but ultimately prove to be fatal.In addition to respiratory diseases, cold weather also increases the likelihood of a heart attack. 

In conclusion, older people should be wary during winter weather. They should wrap themselves up, keep warm, and try to increase their resistance. Prevention is the only weapon to fight death due to cold weather.

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