TUESDAY, Aug. 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Global warming may ultimately rain on everyone’s parade, but new research suggests that major thunderstorms are already wreaking some havoc on the respiratory health of seniors.
That’s because atmospheric changes that precede storms increase the risk that older people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) could develop breathing problems serious enough to send them to the hospital.
The conclusion follows a 14-year-long investigation — described as the largest of its kind — that tracked stormy weather and emergency room visits among more than 46 million Medicare recipients.
“Changes in the atmosphere that lead up to thunderstorms, which includes increased temperatures and levels of particulate matter, coincided with increased emergency visits for breathing problems among seniors,” said study author Dr. Christopher Worsham. He’s a research fellow in the pulmonary and critical care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Particulate matter is very small particles in the air caused by fires, auto or industrial emissions, as well as dust and dirt.These small particles can make their way deep into the lungs and irritate airways, aggravating asthma or COPD , Worsham noted.His team pored over nationwide data collected between 1999 and 2012, […]
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