TJ8.2 The Impact of Extreme Heat Events on Individuals over Age 65 and the Mitigation of Lives Lost and Affected

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 1:45 PM
North 224A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Elisabeth F. Callen, American Academy of Family Physicians, Leawood, KS; and N. Loskutova

As the climate continues to change and the planet continues to warm up, there are likely to be more instances of extreme heat. The extreme heat events take a definite human toll, creating a disaster with lives lost and affected. These extreme heat events are particularly difficult on the people over age 65. These individuals are more likely to have chronic conditions that make them more susceptible to extreme heat. As the population of the United States continues to age, extreme heat events, not including the effects of these events occurring more often, are going to take a greater toll on the overall population. Primary care providers are at the forefront of helping these individuals manage their chronic conditions to combat the extreme heat. This analysis covers people over the age of 65 and the impact (e.g., flares of chronic conditions, death) of extreme heat events on them. The database used for this analysis contains approximately 3.5 million individuals over 65 years old, across the United States. People are separated into two different groups – one group of people with specific chronic conditions that are affected by changes in weather/extreme heat events and another group of people who do not have those specific chronic conditions. These chronic conditions include arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines/headaches, and multiple sclerosis, among others. The length of time the person has had the chronic condition will also be taken into account when determining the impact extreme heat events have on that person. The effect of extreme heat events on the two separate groups is determined. While the group with the chronic conditions does show that the extreme heat events affect them, the group without the specific chronic conditions also shows that the extreme heat events affect them, but to a lesser degree. The effect on both groups can be considered a disaster because of the large human toll extreme heat events take on the population. Combining the information on extreme heat events with patient data will help primary care providers mitigate and prevent the effects chronic conditions have on the patient during extreme heat events. Providing primary care providers with information regarding extreme heat events’ effect on their patient population has the potential to have an effect on the lives lost and affected during these events.
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