By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re probably familiar with what climate change is. In fact, it’s really just a figure of speech, since rising temperatures also affect the inside of caves, albeit in a milder way. From Life Length, how could it be otherwise, we talk about climate change and how it affects health:

The first question we have to ask ourselves is: what exactly is climate change? For the more novice readers we have to clarify that it is a long-term change in climatic standards. That is, prolonged alterations or variations in the patterns that govern climate. These changes have occurred over the long history of our planet, leading to stages with different environmental characteristics. However, the process of global warming has been artificially accelerated since the industrial revolution, when humans began to emit an abundance of greenhouse gases. These vapors are necessary to maintain the planet at a habitable temperature, which makes them indispensable. On the other hand, excess greenhouse gases lead to a rise in global temperature, which has earned them a negative connotation for many people.

Climate change broadly translates into a progressive increase in the planet’s temperature, which has various consequences. The results of the increase in heat are varied and affect human beings directly and indirectly. For example, with the melting of the poles, sea levels will rise. This will result not only in the disappearance of the poles as an ecosystem, but also in the flooding of coastal areas and archipelagos. Assuming that the people living in those areas will be displaced, climate refugees will be created, individuals who are forced to leave their land in order to survive. Of course, there will be production sites that will be submerged, which means that demand will remain, but production capacity will have been drastically reduced. In this simple hypothetical case, climate change would have created an environmental, economic and political crisis in our country. An unmitigated disaster.

Fortunately, we have not yet reached a similar situation. But global warming has destroyed ecosystems and has direct negative effects on our health, which we will tell you about below:

  • It increases the impact of respiratory diseases. Ozone is a molecule composed of 3 oxygen atoms bonded together that is found in a gaseous state at room temperature. In the upper layers of the atmosphere it accumulates to form the ozone layer, which prevents most ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth’s surface. However, this gas is also formed in the lower atmosphere when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (such as those resulting from fuel combustion) undergo photochemical reactions. For these processes to take place, activation energy, which can be in the form of heat, is required. Therefore, when the temperature is higher, the formation of ozone particles is facilitated. This highly oxidative gas produces irritation and swelling in the airways, making breathing difficult and aggravating respiratory diseases such as asthma.
  • It accentuates cardiovascular diseases. The reaction of our body to thermoregulate can be harmful to the heart, especially for those who suffer from heart disease. Our body produces sweating in order to compensate for high temperatures. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure. In addition, the loss of fluids results in a decrease in the amount of plasma and slower blood circulation, which makes it more difficult to control the body’s temperature. If the drop in blood pressure is excessive, it can lead to dizziness, loss of consciousness and even heat stroke. The need to regulate body temperature forces the heart to overexert itself and it may even demand a higher level of work than it can give, producing a heart attack. Healthy people in situations of extreme heat and dehydration can suffer heart disease, but those with previous heart disease are especially vulnerable.

It is inevitable to mention the risks derived from an important agent of climate change: atmospheric pollution. As we have already explained, the excess of greenhouse gases is causing the temperature of the planet to rise. This air pollution is also directly harmful to the body and is associated with lung cancer. However, there is some theorizing about the relationship with other types of cancer, but this has not been proven.

Climate change is a serious issue that all governments have on the table. It is a problem that needs to be addressed at all levels, social, business, governmental and, of course, personal. Changing some areas of our daily lives can help us and our actions to produce less greenhouse gases. For example, we can unplug appliances on standby, carry our own bags when we go shopping or eat seasonal foods.

It is easy to get the feeling that this is a slow process that will affect us in the near future. However, the reality is that our health is already suffering the consequences of climate change.