Here’s another reason why you may not want to work long hours under the extreme heat.
More than global warming, a new study published in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), warns that climate change is linked to increased cases of chronic kidney diseases caused by dehydration and heat stress.
The study, lead by Richard Johnson, MD, Jay Lemery, MD (University of Colorado School of Medicine), and Jason Glaser (La Isla Foundation) describe the health consequence of extreme heat as heat stress nephropathy or chronic kidney disease.
The disease, which is not linked with traditional risk factors is already on the rise throughout the world and it is mostly common in hot rural areas such as those in agricultural areas where people are more exposed to heat.
“A new type of kidney disease, occurring throughout the world in hot areas, is linked with temperature and climate and may be one of the first epidemics due to global warming,” Johnson said.
The authors also noted that decreasing amounts of rain we experience because of climate change contribute to the growing epidemic of heat stress nephropathy by reducing water supplies and quality as temperatures rise. This puts extreme stress in kidneys especially on those poor regions composed mainly of farmers and laborers.
“The disease is most common among agriculture workers, particularly men responsible for the hardest manual labor. Its symptoms come on swiftly and suddenly, without many of the traditional precursors of kidney disease such as diabetes and obesity,” MedicalDaily noted.
Dr. Vivekanand Jha, professor of Nephrology at the George Institute for Global Health in New Delhi, who was part of the research team told Times of India that while the impact of the disease is not immediate, the degree of kidney damage occurs slowly, daily. The loss of water and sodium lead to kidney failure even in young and seemingly healthy people.
Meanwhile, aside from chronic kidney diseases, health impact brought by climate change also include cognitive dysfunction, malnutrition, and water-borne infectious diseases.
The researchers urge governments and scientists to work together to conduct epidemiological and clinical studies to document the presence of these epidemics and their magnitude.
Although the study is initially looking at India, the study is also relevant in a global scale as climate change is experienced in every part of the world.
The group has submitted a research proposal to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to “systematically evaluate this epidemic in at least four regions of India along with local nephrologists.”
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