Climate change makes us sicker, finds review of insurance claims

A new study based on insurance claims found that the consistently rising temperatures brought on by climate change are increasing instances of heat-related health issues.

“The percentage of patients who were diagnosed with heat stress, heat exhaustion or heatstroke was higher in each month in 2021 than in the corresponding month of 2016,” says an analysis published Dec. 13 by FAIR Health.

In June 2021, heat exhaustion rose 52.5% compared to June 2016.

The analysis of 39 billion medical claims from FAIR Health, which the group describes as “the nation’s largest database of privately billed health insurance claims,” served as the foundation for the study.

Rising temperatures are increasing the incidence of emergency room visits, says a review of insurance claims.
Patients diagnosed with heat stress as a percentage of patients who received medical services nationally, May-September 2016-2021 (Source: FAIR Health)

Men and people over 65 were more likely to have heat stress, fatigue, or heatstroke, which were all variables. The diagnosis of heat stress was more common in women among the under-35 population, though.

Infectious and non-infectious disorders were both affected by a study published last year that revealed 58% of the 375 infectious diseases examined had been “aggravated by climatic hazards.”

There is a similar situation with dengue, which affects half of the world’s population and claims 20,000 lives annually (mainly children), with numbers predicted to climb as mosquito populations rise.

“As the planet heats up, animals big and small, on land and in the sea, are headed to the poles to get out of the heat. That means animals are coming into contact with other animals they normally wouldn’t, and that creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts,” said Harvard researchers about the role of climate change in the spread of COVID-19.

On top of that, climate change affects our mental health, too.

Recent research published in JAMA Psychiatry found an increase in visits to hospital emergency rooms for any form of mental health issues during excessive heat, with an incidence rate ratio of 1.08. Measured mental health issues included schizophrenia, drug use disorders, anxiety, mood disorders, and self-harm, with stronger connections among males.

Biotechnology can lessen pain.

As Bio.News reported before, biotech solutions—from biofuels to improved agricultural methods—can play a significant role in combating climate change.

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