Climate Change has been a very detrimental issue in recent years. While it is garnering more attention because of its effects on the environment, the phrase wasn’t previously known in a medical sense until recently. On Monday, a Canadian woman was diagnosed with “climate change” after enduring intense symptoms after a heatwave.
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While coming across as unusual, the origin of the medical term is quite simple. Dr. Kyle Meritt of British Columbia felt that the term for the diagnosis was appropriate when examining the woman’s state. According to Merritt per Greek Reporter, the extreme temperature caused the woman’s underlying conditions to intensify. The patient is a 70-year-old woman suffering from conditions including diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular issues. Merritt adds that the woman was “struggling to stay hydrated.” “If we’re not looking at the underlying cause, and we’re just treating the symptoms, we’re just going to keep falling further and further behind,” Meritt states. According to The Week, the woman was living in a trailer with no air conditioning at the time of the heatwave.
Cases such as this are a result of the heatwave that ravaged Canada this summer. The peak temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides symptoms among victims of the heatwave, 570 people died due to the intense temperatures.
Meritt’s diagnosis is being backed by several doctors. Dr. Marina Romanello, a research director at Lancet Countdown, believes that Meritt’s concern with climate change as a health risk was a “very wise decision.”
“Doing things like this and doing better studies that can help us attribute deaths to climate change is incredibly important because that is what will ultimately allow us to quantify the health dimension of climate change,” claims Dr. Romanello.
Meritt and other Canadian healthcare workers have expressed their concern about patients and the effect of climate change on them. Because of that, they have been inspired to start the “Doctors and Nurses of Planetary Health.” According to the Greek Reporter, they hope it can “better protect human health by protecting the planet.”
As if climate change wasn’t harmful enough, the exposure of its effect on people’s health is alarming. Not only is the body of the earth at risk, but now the body of individuals, too.