Rising Temperatures, Rising Risks: Heatwaves Associated with 11.7% Surge in Cardiovascular Deaths


Woman in hot weather
With 2023 earning the title of the hottest year on record and Australia experiencing escalating heatwaves in frequency, intensity, and duration, our well-being is in jeopardy.

Unfortunately in Australia heatwaves have been linked to an 11.7% surge in deaths related to cardiac issues.

Cardiologist and researcher, Dr Hui-Chen Han says “People with cardiac conditions may be more prone to the adverse effects of extreme heat. If possible, plan to have prescriptions filled and important appointments to occur during cooler days or early in the morning.”

Monash University experts warning communities to be prepared ahead of hot weather

  • If you take medicines for a heart condition, your doctor might need to adjust them
  • Store medicines correctly in a dry or cool place
  • Limit the time spent outside when it’s hot; try to organise activities early in the morning or later in the evening.
  • Check on people who are isolated or might need help. Especially those that have a heart condition or other chronic condition, like diabetes.
  • Ensure electric life-saving medical equipment is registered with your energy supplier.

Associate Professor Lokmic-Tomkins shares “It is important to be familiar with potential warning signs that may indicate heat stress, such as feeling dizzy, having a rapid pulse, or experiencing nausea. If you encounter any of these symptoms, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition, please seek medical attention without delay.”

Expert advice for beating the heat:

  • Stay indoors and use an electric fan or air conditioner
  • Take a cool shower or bath, or sponge yourself with cool water
  • Put crushed ice in a towel and place it around your neck or on your chest
  • Keep your clothing wet by spraying yourself with cool water
  • When outside, stick to the shade where possible
  • Wear loose, light-coloured clothing
  • Reduce physical activity when it’s hot and take breaks often
  • Avoid being outdoors when the sun is at its strongest (about noon to 3pm)
  • Eat small easy to digest meals such as fruit, salads or sandwiches; avoid using hot appliances
  • Stay hydrated.


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