🥵 Extreme Heat and Wildfire Smoke
Your Risk of a Heart Attack Could Be Double
🥵 Extreme Heat and Wildfire Smoke May Double Heart Attack Risk
As the United States grapples with extreme heat and choking wildfire smoke, a new study has revealed the perilous impact of these environmental factors on heart health.
The research warns that days characterized by soaring heat and fine particulate air pollution can double the risk of a fatal heart attack.
The study, which analyzed more than 202,000 heart attack deaths in the Chinese province of Jiangsu between 2015 and 2020, considered both local heat index and air pollution measurements for the day of and the day before each heart attack.
The study findings revealed that extreme heat alone poses a heart hazard, with the risk of a fatal heart attack increasing by 18% during two-day heat waves with a heat index between 82 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Four-day heat waves of 95 to 109 degrees F amplified the risk by a staggering 74%.
However, the most significant increase in risk was observed on days with both extreme heat and unhealthy air quality, where the risk of dying from a heart attack doubled.
The study also highlighted that women and seniors over 80 were at higher risk of fatal heart attacks during extreme heat days, but the combined risk of heat and smog was consistent across gender, age, and economic status.
To mitigate the risks, the study's author advises people to monitor air pollution levels reported on weather sites closely. On days with poor air quality, staying indoors with a well-filtered HVAC system or a portable air cleaner can help maintain fresh air.
When venturing outside, using an N95 filter mask is recommended for protection against airborne particles.
Additionally, using fans and air conditioners, dressing appropriately, staying hydrated, and installing window blinds to reduce indoor temperatures can help beat the heat.
Certain vulnerable groups, including people with diabetes, respiratory conditions, COPD, organ transplant recipients, chronic kidney disease, and survivors of previous heart attacks or strokes, should take extra precautions.
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🤧 Babies with Eczema May Also Develop Food Allergies, Asthma, and Hay Fever
New research published in Pediatrics highlights the "allergic march," a pattern in which allergies typically develop, beginning with eczema, and progress in children from infancy to age 3.
The study analyzed medical records of over 200,000 children from 1999 to 2020. On average, children were first diagnosed with eczema (atopic dermatitis) at 4 months old, followed by food allergies and asthma around 13 months old.
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) typically developed at 26 months. In rare cases, some children may also develop eosinophilic esophagitis by 35 months old.
Dr. Stanislaw Gabryszewski, the study's lead researcher, emphasized that the allergic march varies among individuals, and not every child with eczema will develop all the described allergies.
However, eczema remains a significant risk factor for future allergies, even more so than family history.
The study stands out as the largest to confirm the pattern of the allergic march and included a diverse group of children, with approximately one-third being Black and 10% Hispanic.
Interestingly, the study found that food allergies were less prevalent than previously thought, affecting about 4% of the children, with peanuts, eggs, and shellfish being the most common triggers. Respiratory allergies like asthma and allergic rhinitis often occur together, alongside other allergic conditions.
Around 1 in 5 children experience some form of allergic condition, making it one of the most common chronic illnesses in kids.
Monitoring children who develop eczema early in life can help detect and manage other allergies as they emerge later on.
👂 Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Help Hearing
According to findings presented at a meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, low levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are associated with hearing loss in middle and older age individuals.
However, middle-aged and older adults with higher DHA levels were found to be 8% to 20% less likely to experience age-related hearing issues compared to those with lower DHA levels.
The study collected data from over 115,000 men and women aged 40 to 69 who were part of the U.K. Biobank. Those with the highest DHA levels were 16% more likely to report no hearing problems and 11% less likely to have difficulty understanding conversations in noisy environments compared to those with the lowest DHA levels.
The researchers are still determining how DHA safeguards hearing. Still, they speculate that omega-3 fatty acids may protect inner ear cells or reduce inflammatory responses to loud noises, chemicals, or infections, thus guarding against age-related hearing loss.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, nuts, seeds, and dietary supplements such as fish oil. McBurney recommended consuming more fatty fish, like salmon, or taking fish oil supplements to increase DHA levels.
When opting for supplements, individuals should look for labels that specify eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA content.
Further research is needed to establish a concrete connection between DHA supplementation and hearing protection.
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