How Do Climatic Changes Affect Health Conditions

Posted On Dec 26, 2019

Department of

Manipal Hospitals

A pleasant climate is one thing that all of us enjoy. It sets positive spirits and makes us feel good. On the contrary, the extreme climatic condition tends to have a negative impact on our health. These include severe temperatures hot or cold, changes in precipitation, heat waves, melting ice caps, storms, floods, and rising sea levels. Unlikely weather conditions show a direct impact on the food we eat, the water we drink, the weather we relish upon, and the most important air we breathe.

Extreme climatic changes usually lead to a rise in cases of infectious diseases and their spread. Bad weather would also show a negative impact on mental health as well. When climatic disasters occur, it is we the humans who are affected obviously.

What are the possible influences of climatic changes on human health?

Although climatic changes affect the human health, it also makes the already present health conditions into a more severe stage. Here are few examples that can help you understand the effects of climatic changes on the disease conditions:

Alzheimer’s disease:

Persons who have cognitive impairments are more vulnerable to severe climatic conditions; they require immediate emergency responses or evacuation.


Asthma is exacerbated by the changes in allergenicity and by exposure to polluted air that is caused due to the changes in temperature, humidity, and wind. In people with asthma, humidity and extreme changes in the temperatures starts to irritate the airways. This will provoke inflammation in the airways. As the people with asthma already have inflamed airways, the more is the effect of climatic changes on them.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

Changes in the air quality will affect COPD patients more than the general population because of the increase in the sensitivity to climatic changes. The flares of COPD can boost up in very cold, hot, or dry climates. During extreme worse weather, people tend to experience coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath at peaks. At temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit breathing gets difficult. Heavy breezes or wind makes it really tuff to breathe.


People who are diabetic are more sensitive to their medications, heat stress, and dietary needs due to the vulnerable weather events. During the mid-winters, people with diabetes are most likely to have higher levels of HbA1c when compared to normal warmer seasons. Cold climates let the sugar levels climb inversely as the temperature drops.

Cardiovascular disease:

  • Diseases related to heart have more sensitivity during the extremely hot temperatures.
  • It is surprising that extreme cold and hot temperatures escalate the hospital admissions for heart conditions such as stroke and dysrhythmias.
  • During extreme temperature you may get stressed out and feel anxious, these are associated with cardiovascular events such as cardiac arrest, cardiomyopathy
  • Due to drought conditions, there may be an increase in the particulate matter this can be associated with compromised heart function, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary emboli formation, dysfunctions in the blood vessels.

What are the general adverse effects of cold climate on health?

  • Cold climate may result in cold injuries also referred as cold burns. The most common condition that occurs in cold weather is hypothermia (reduction in the body temperature).
  • Non-freezing injuries such as chilblain, trench foot, and immersion foot are also common.
  • Some body parts don’t have major muscles to produce heat, such as fingers, ears, toes, and nose. Therefore, these are at a higher risk and are more prone to cold climates.
  • If your eyes are not protected by goggles in cold weather, the corneas of your eyes may freeze.
  • During winter seasons blood pressure peaks up. Therefore there can be more heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems.

What are the adverse effects of hot climate on health?

Heat exhaustion is the most common effect of severe hot temperatures it can end up in the symptoms such as:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache


Heat stroke is also a more severe medical attention that shows symptoms such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit


At times cold temperatures are more pleasing and refreshing for a few. This can be the brighter side of the situation. But we must also consider the darkest side of climatic variations. So be cautious about the variations in the climate and let them not affect your health or worsen your already compromised health.

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