Climate Change & Heart Attacks: Reality and Metaphor

True fact: a warming climate is bad for your cardiovascular health. Very, very bad.

Heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is the number one cause of death worldwide. A new study shows that the risk of suffering a heat-induced heart attack has increased significantly in recent years.

We've long known climate change has increased the risk of infectious diseases spreading globally. We know it is a danger to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Now, however, rising global temperatures have been shown to adversely impact your risk of having a heart attack.

... Augsburg University Hospital and Nördlingen Hospital, he examined data from the Myocardial Infarction Register Augsburg. The study looked at more than 27,000 heart attack patients between 1987 and 2014. The average age of the patients studied was around 63, 73% were men and about 13,000 ended in the death of the patient. The individual heart attacks were compared against meteorological data on the day of the attack and adjusted for a range of additional factors, such as the day of the week and socioeconomic status. The key finding from the study, explains Chen was that, "Over a period of 28 years, we found that there has been an increase in heat-induced heart attack risk in recent years."

We tend to focus on extreme weather events (hurricanes, super storms, droughts) and their attendant disasters - flooding and wildfires - and people have begun to talk about the economic impact of our climate crisis. But climate change effects us even when we are not in the path of a Category 5 tropical storm, tornadoes or polar vortexes. It's also a public health crisis that will impact the health outcomes for all of us.

The adverse health effects of climate change will be broad and will tax public health resources globally. Vector-borne diseases, foodborne and waterborne illnesses, malnutrition, respiratory and allergic disorders, heat-related disorders, collective violence, and mental health problems will all likely increase due to climate change. Already vulnerable populations including the poor, minority groups, women, children, and older people will face the greatest challenges brought on by climate-caused illness. Malaria, Rift Valley fever, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile virus disease are spreading due to climate change.

It's been easy to ignore because the reporting has emphasized the major impacts will come among the poor and in the less developed countries. But in a world where naked capitalism is driving the majority of human beings continually toward poverty as it dismantles what is left of middle and working classes across the globe, it's foolish to think we can ignore these problems any longer simply because we live in one of the biggest economies on earth. Twenty-first Century Capitalism accelerates climate disasters as well as accelerating poverty.

The sole ideology of the capitalism, with focusing on the profits instead on the sustainable development is responsible for the biggest part of the continuation of the devastating rise of the CO2 levels, which will have far reaching impacts on the whole world. The privatization of the public sector, deregulation of the private sector with lowering the taxes on profits for private companies and organizations are done at the expense of public spending and have the logic which is incompatible with the sustainability and needed actions to tackle global climate issues. What is worse, the World Trade Organization – WTO makes it possible to act against almost all international and national climate actions which were taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Private companies are making money and are not paying for the environmental damage done in the process and are serving only the interest of the few.

The 20th Century was known for its world wars and mass murders. But we are headed for a future that will be far more deadly than what we faced last century. And it's as nasty as a - well a heart attack.

The window to prevent this dystopian future where billions will die is rapidly closing. This issue impacts and worsens every other issue facing societal cohesion, including racism and other forms of ethnic conflict, mass migrations, starvation on a scale heretofore unseen, and of course, deaths from the literal effect of a climate that is out of control. Thinking that the current, outdated political and economic paradigm in the West will find solutions to these explosive problems is worse than deliberate ignorance. It verges on a reckless disregard for the survival of life on Earth, and in particular human life.

If your political representatives are not laser focused on this problem, they are failing you, and need to be replaced. Failure to act soon will lead to far more disruptive political movements than what we have seen to date. Just ask the aristocrats at the time of the French Revolution what that may look like.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Sure, disasters are coming, and fast. When there was a fire in Malibu last November, the Woolsey Fire, I thought "gee, maybe some rich people will notice." The masses are connected via Internet now and can organize at any time before the rest of the world chooses the Chinese model of the Internet. And then there's the death of the oceans.

Dystopia is the default norm for discussions of the future. But the discussion of the inevitable future is all trend futurism, and people are starting to understand that we are being made to feel completely helpless before trend futurism. My solution to all this is to discuss the utopian dream, the society as we really want it to be. Once that discussion gets going, doom will no longer appear inevitable.

There are a number of utopias we can choose at any time now: the utopia of human rights is probably the most basic of them. But utopian dreaming goes further than that; it's part of the cultural heritage of the Euro-triumphant culture that has stained the world for the past 500 years and, like most trash, it can't be a complete waste.

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"The sustainable and just civilization that we hope to create... cannot be built using a capitalist economy" - Kim Stanley Robinson

Steven D's picture

@Cassiodorus may already be closed, in light of the decisions governments have made to allow neoliberal globalism to continue wrecking the planet along with our economies.

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12 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Cassiodorus's picture

@Steven D I will ask my students: "how would things be if they could be the way you wanted them to be?" The Powers That Be want you to think that the trend future is inevitable. The utopian dream is your act of resistance, your "power of the weak" with apologies to Elizabeth Janeway.

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9 users have voted.

"The sustainable and just civilization that we hope to create... cannot be built using a capitalist economy" - Kim Stanley Robinson

lotlizard's picture

@Cassiodorus  
“TINA” feeling — their experts are the only “adults in the room”; theirs is the only “pragmatic” approach; ergo, “There Is No Alternative.”

The Green New Deal or whatever = just a “green TINA”?

By all means, young and old alike need to imagine the many alternate futures human societies could yet create, if the will is there.

It would be fatal and no revolution at all, if the result is merely to substitute one TINA for another.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@lotlizard OK now, as I predicted, weather in the Pacific Northwest has improved! Here's where I'm staying:

https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/us/wa/auburn/47.250732%2C-122.0751...

Anyone for a Portland meetup?

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3 users have voted.

"The sustainable and just civilization that we hope to create... cannot be built using a capitalist economy" - Kim Stanley Robinson

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cassiodorus

Right! See Steven! lotlizard gets it!

OK now, as I predicted, weather in the Pacific Northwest has improved! Anyone for a Portland meetup?

Here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the weather's gone to the Norse Hell in a handbasket. But, since I essentially constitute the c99 Colorado Springs meetup, it doesn't impede things much.....

Wink

https://www.kktv.com/content/news/What-you-need-to-know-about-the-Colora...

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

dkmich's picture

How sad a commentary is that when the subject of heat induced heart attacks is more uplifting and less stressful than the state of our politics.

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6 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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