Deaths Rose By 30% When Temperatures Crossed 40°C: Study 

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Deaths Rose By 30% When Temperatures Crossed 40°C: Study 

| Updated: May 22, 2024 12:06

Experts believe that the annual mortality due to extreme temperatures could be around 300 in Ahmedabad 

Ahmedabad, along with several parts of Gujarat is experiencing a severe heatwave. Heat is not only uncomfortable and exhausting, high temperatures can also lead to fatalities. This is highlighted in a study carried out by international researchers, including those from Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar.

According to the study, when Ahmedabad experienced sustained heat with maximum temperature above 40 degrees, the all-cause mortality increased by 30% compared to daily average deaths. 

The study analysed 6.84 lakh deaths recorded in the city between 2002 and 2018 on Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) records. It took weather data from a European institute to correlate deaths to temperatures. 

Women more vulnerable

According to the study titled ‘Characterizing the effects of extreme heat events on all-cause mortality: A case study in Ahmedabad city of India, 2002–2018’ published recently in Elsevier journal Urban Climate, women are more susceptible to mortality due to extreme heat, and the high mortality risk is the highest on the same day of exposure. 

When temperatures exceeded 40°C, mortality risk among males increased by 25%, compared to a 40% among females, the study said. 

The authors said the study primarily indicates the risk factors associated with prolonged exposure to heat. Globally, data on heat-specific mortality is difficult to get, and thus the analysis is carried out on all-cause mortality in context of temperature ranges. 

This study finds that when the temperature crosses the threshold of 40°C in Ahmedabad, there is a sustained increase of all-cause mortality risk by 30%. It is even more when we use 45°C as the threshold, they said.

As per AMC data, since 2010, 106 deaths have been attributed to extreme heat. However, experts believe that the annual mortality due to extreme temperatures could be around 300 in Ahmedabad. 

The majority of the deaths are caused by heat stroke. A person dies due to heat shock that severely affects internal organs including heart and kidneys. But people with existing conditions can die due to complications caused by extreme heat. Such instances could account for 90% of the deaths, say the experts.   

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