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Study: Cold triggers heart attacks in elderly

August 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
British researchers report a significant drop in temperatures may trigger heart attacks in elderly people.Researchers analyzed temperature records and tens of thousands of hospital admissions for heart attacks over a three-year period.

The study revealed that a drop of just 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, translated into a 2-percent rise in the number of heart attacks in the following weeks.

The study of 84,010 hospital admissions for heart attack found that people aged 75 to 84 and people with a history of heart disease seemed to be most vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.

People who had been taking aspirin long-term were less vulnerable to temperature drops.

Researchers say more study is needed to better define which individuals are most vulnerable to temperature drops and to determine whether adaptive measures, such as adding clothing or turning up the thermostat, might help reduce events.

The study is published online in the journal British Medical Journal.


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