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Humidity Linked to Risk of Myocardial Infarction Death

Findings hold even in mild climates

THURSDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- High humidity, even in the relatively mild climate of Mediterranean cities, can be linked to increased risk of death from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) among the elderly, according to results from the Climate Impacts on Myocardial Infarction Deaths in Athens Territory study (the CLIMATE study) that appears in the online issue of Heart.

Polychronis Dilaveris, M.D., of Hippokration Hospital in Athens, Greece, and colleagues, analyzed all reported AMI deaths in Athens in 2001 and compared them to daily weather for the same year. During 2001, there were 3,126 heart attack deaths, of which 1,953 were in men. The average daily deaths from AMI were 31.8 percent higher in winter than summer, they found.

While the monthly variance was less significant in those under age 70, among people older than 70, the mean number of daily AMI deaths was 3.53 in June and 7.03 in December. The average daily temperature for the preceding week was the best predictor of daily AMI deaths, although the average monthly humidity was the only factor independently associated with total AMI deaths in people older than 70.

"Including the association of relative humidity with AMI mortality may be necessary in health care and civil protection planning," the researchers report.

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