Some of the health risks from climate change in Florida may be surprising. it affects millions

credit: pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

Some of the health effects of climate change are clear and already evident in Florida, such as increased heat stress and more cases of mosquito-borne tropical diseases. But it may come as a surprise that as climate conditions intensify, health experts say it will also increase the risk of illness and death for people with diabetes.

That’s important for Florida, where 1 in 10 residents is part of a nationwide diabetes epidemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say those most at risk are many poor and communities of color.

At first glance, the links between climate change and diabetes may be difficult to identify but they have been explored in a number of studies.

Some are indirect. For type 1 diabetics who rely on taking insulin, barriers to access medicine and healthy food – such as flooding or power outages affecting the supply chain or blocking access to pharmacies and shops – can be life-threatening Is. A study by Dr. Mihail Zilbermint of Johns Hopkins Medicine-Suburban Hospital, published in the National Library of Medicine, documented how Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey caused shortages of medical supplies and food. Florida gets a lot of hurricanes, which is underlined by the double whammy of Ian and Nicole last season.

Then there’s the more direct threat from rising temperatures, which could worsen the myriad health challenges for diabetics.

“Because of the heat, you increase your risk of dehydration, you increase your glucose and you increase your risk of kidney damage because circulation to the kidneys is reduced,” Dr. said Cheryl Holder, interim executive director of the Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. “High glucose already has an impact on a lot of metabolic functions in many diabetics.”

And Florida is only getting hotter. According to a county report on extreme heat, Miami-Dade has about 133 days out of the year that exceed 90 degrees. By 2050, it could jump to 187 days. Miami is one of the hottest cities in the United States, which makes diabetics more vulnerable to heat-related complications. Heat is a problem for other reasons as well. This can put an excessive load on electrical systems, triggering power outages and refrigeration failures that can damage stored insulin.

Holder said one of her group’s biggest initiatives is educating community physicians on the heat and health impacts as Miami approaches summer in May. The FCCA has identified 50 health centers in vulnerable communities to provide physicians with materials to protect their patients from extreme heat conditions.

Holder—a recently retired professor and associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusivity, and community initiatives at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine—suggests diabetes patients suffering from increased air pollution and psychological stress from dealing with both the disease and the new disease. Also warned of other effects. Climate Challenges.

The diabetes belt is a region of the United States — mostly counties in southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia — where people are more likely to have type 2 diabetes than people in other parts of the country. The belt includes 644 counties, according to the CDC, including Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson and Madison counties in northern Florida.

Even outside this belt, diabetes rates in other counties, such as Hardy and Baker, are more than double the state’s overall rate of 12 percent.

People with multiple marginalized identities, such as being black, poor and older, are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and experiencing the effects of climate change. Both working together can be overwhelming for patients, leaving them in a “food quagmire” — with few grocery stores and options consisting mostly of fast food or stores with no fresh, healthy food that can control the disease. can help to do. Holder encourages diabetics to better prepare for climate emergencies by keeping canned and frozen vegetables that still have high nutritional value.

“You take a population that’s already suffering from a chronic disease that has a lot of considerations for day-to-day life, where they have to make sure their diet is appropriate, they have access to life-saving drugs. Let him continue the treatment, he cannot leave the treatment of his eye disease just like that, he cannot leave the treatment of his kidney problems just like that.

“Then you add all the extra stressors that we have to deal with without all these chronic conditions. You’re looking at extraordinarily high stressors,” she said. “And as flexible as you are, it’s still an added burden.”

2023 Miami Herald.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

CitationSome of the health risks from climate change in Florida may be surprising. It affects millions (2023, January 23) retrieved from on 23 January 2023

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except in any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Leave a Comment