The Grapevine

Diseases Are On The Rise Due To Climate Change

Climate change as a whole has been affecting everything lately, from our weather and its many phenomena, to the wildlife we protect and preserve, to what our next move as a species should be and even the food we can grow and eat. And now, thanks to a new research, it seems like it’s also making people sicker by putting diseases ranging from seasonal allergies to lung and heart cancer up by a notch.

How Climate Change Is Impacting Health

“There’s research suggesting that our prescription medications may be causing harm because of changing heat patterns,” Aaron Bernstein, a pediatric hospitalist who is the co-director of the Center for Climate,  Health  and the Global Environment at Harvard University, said.There’s evidence that extreme weather events are affecting critical medical supplies so we can’t do things as we normally would do because IV fluids aren’t available. And there’s evidence that extreme weather events are knocking out power more and more, and that is a huge issue for providing care in healthcare facilities.”

According to him, extreme weather and rising heat are putting children, pregnant people and the elderly at the most risk. However, patients, along with doctors and researchers, are already feeling its impact on our health, with every specialty of medicine already suffering from it.

For example, one study showed that when hurricane disasters stop their treatments, patients who are undergoing radiation therapy for their lung cancer are all less likely to survive.

“The climate crisis is impacting not only health for our patients but the way we deliver care and our ability to do our jobs. And that’s happening today,” Renee Salas, a co-author of the report, who teaches emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, said.

As the climate crisis continues to escalate on a global level, the simplest of biological processes also turn out to be big problems. One of the biggest examples is seasonal allergies that are oftentimes caused by pollens from flowers and plants. Heart conditions are also affected as well as digestive illnesses, skin disease, infectious disease, dehydration, kidney problems and mental health conditions, per various studies.

France Health Hospital Research picture of a human brain taken by a positron emission tomography scanner, also called PET scan, is seen on a screen on January 9, 2019, at the Regional and University Hospital Center of Brest (CRHU - Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire de Brest), western France. Woman was initially diagnosed with depression but her actual medical condition was stage four cancer. Fred Tanneau /AFP/Getty Images