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Heat Waves Can Promote IBD and IG, Study Says

heat wave

Heat waves can directly influence human health and increase mortality. However, its indirect effects, such as whether it can alter symptoms of different diseases, remains unknown and calls for further investigation.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and infectious gastroenteritis (IG) are diseases caused by inflammation and ulcer in stomach and intestine and their symptoms include stomachache, vomit and diarrhea. Professor Thomas Frei, from Swiss Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology, and his team conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the influence of heat waves on IBD and IG by analyzing data from 738 IBD patients and 768 IG patient between 2001 and 2005. In the same time, local astronomic observatory recorded 17 heat waves in this period.

The researchers found that during the heat wave attacks, the number of IBD and IG patients increased by 4.6% and 4.7%, respectively, for every additional day within the period of elevated temperatures. The data also suggests that the influence of heat waves on IBD is instantaneous while their effect on IG becomes significant after one week since heat wave arrives.

Although the mechanism behind these influence remains unknown, the authors speculated that elevated temperatures might be in favor of spreading of pathogenic bacteria and transmissible viral, and thus cause diseases. The authors also noted that the high temperatures’ instantaneous effect on IBD was possibly related with physical and mental stress resulted from heat waves. These stress can not only lead to IBD, but may also aggravate some symptoms that are difficult to observe clinically.

Source:The American Journal of Gastroenterology