Global warming could increase the cases of hospitalization due to hyponatremia, a condition where the body experiences dangerously low sodium levels. New research published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius would result in a 14% increase in hyponatremia cases. The study was conducted by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Researchers behind the study say they found a significant relationship between atmospheric temperature and the occurrence of hyponatremia. “Our study is the first to provide precise estimates of how temperature influences the risk of hyponatremia, findings that could be used to inform healthcare planning for adapting to climate change,” said Buster Mannheimer, one of the study’s authors and a lecturer at the Karolinska Institutet.
Hyponatremia can occur due to various diseases, including heart, renal and liver failure. The condition also occurs due to excessive sweating or high fluid intake. If a person sweats excessively, sodium leaves the body through sweat and can lead to sodium deficiency.
The study compared data on Sweden’s adult population to 24-hour mean temperature information collected over nine years. Data revealed that 11,000 people were hospitalized for hyponatremia. Most of those affected were women with a median age of 76.
Further, the study established that hospitalizations were ten times more likely on the hottest days compared to cooler days. The elderly were found to be at the highest risk, with those over 80 years old being 15 times more likely to experience hospitalization during heatwaves. While hyponatremia cases rocketed at temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius, they seemed to stabilize between -10 to 10 degrees Celsius.
Previously, researchers have said that global warming 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures would lead to an increase in diseases. This study provides insight into how these diseases will manifest.
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