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ABC News: Rise in Heart Disease May Be Explained by Extreme Weather Conditions

ABC News recently interviewed Martha Gulati, MD, director of Preventive Cardiology and associate director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, about how climate change is contributing to an increase in heart disease. 

Climate change has worsened and wildfires, hurricanes, drought, heat waves, and cold spells have become more common, sometimes leading to famine and drought. "The world we live in right now is not a very hospitable environment for the heart," Gulati told ABC News.

The medical community was unprepared for the effect of such high temperatures on the human body and had to “learn on the fly,” said Gulati, who is associate director of the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center in the Smidt Heart Institute. "With heart disease prevention, we tend to focus on controlling blood pressure and lipids, but we should consider the other aspects of prevention, like our environment," Gulati told ABC News.  

To protect one’s health from the negative effects of climate change and to maintain good heart health, avoid cigarettes, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. To help protect the environment and reduce the impact of extreme weather on the global community, consider using public transportation, recycling, avoiding red meat and reducing plastic waste. 

"The impact of climate change is not a question of whether it's happening—it is happening, and we are seeing evidence of it every day," Gulati told ABC News. "If we don't act now, we won't save lives, and our job as physicians is to save lives.” 

Click here to read the complete article from ABC News.