United States
Environmental Protection

 Climate Change  and  the
 Health  of  People  wit
 Existing  Medical  Conditio
 Understanding the threats that climate change
 poses to human health can help us work
 together to lower risks and be prepared.
 Climate change threatens human health, including
 mental health, and access to clean air, safe drinking
 water, nutritious food, and shelter. Everyone is affected
 by climate change at some point in their lives. Some
 people are more affected by climate change than
 others because of factors like where they live; their age,
 health, income, and occupation; and how they go
 about their day-to-day life.

 People with existing medical conditions are at
 increased risk for illness and death from climate
 change-related impacts on health, including changing
 exposures to extreme heat, extreme weather events,
 and poor air quality. Existing medical conditions can
 make individuals more sensitive to these exposures,
 increasing the potential for health impacts and
 worsening symptoms. For example, individuals with
 respiratory conditions are more likely to be negatively
 affected by exposure to poor air quality than those
 without these conditions. In addition, some underlying
 health conditions can make it difficult for a person to
 limit their exposure or adapt to risks. For example,
 individuals with Alzheimer's disease may have difficulty
 responding to and evacuating during an extreme
 weather event. Certain medications may also impair
 the body's ability to regulate temperature or maintain
 fluid or electrolyte balances. The number of people
 with common chronic medical conditions (such as
 cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and
                                 including asthma) is expected to
                                 increase over the coming decades.
                                 This means more people will be at
                                 risk of medical complications from
                                 climate change-related exposures.

                                  What is climate change and why does it
                                  matter for health?

                                  We've all heard of it, but what exactly is climate change?
                                  Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth,
                                  trapping energy in the atmosphere. Human activities,
                                  especially burning fossil fuels for energy, increase the
                                  amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and
                                  cause the climate to warm. Climate is the typical or
                                  average weather for an area. Climate change is any
                                  change in average weather that lasts for a long period of
                                  time, like warming temperatures. Climate change affects
                                  the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we
                                  drink. It also leads to extreme weather events, like
                                  flooding, droughts, and wildfires. All of these impacts
                                  affect human health.

                                  People with chronic medical conditions and their
                                  families or caregivers can start taking steps now to
                                  protect themselves against the negative impacts of
                                  climate change. Community members can also take part
                                  in local decision-making, especially emergency and
                                  urban planning. Discussions like these raise awareness
                                  and can help communities address the needs of all

  If you have the following illnesses then you
  should be aware that...

  Heart Disease. Drugs used to treat heart diseases,
  such as diuretics and beta-blockers, can make
  people  with heart disease more sensitive to heat

  Diabetes. Diabetes increases sensitivity to heat
  stress. Extreme weather events can also present
  challenges for diabetics because these events can
  limit access to healthcare, medicine, and food
  needed to stay healthy.

  Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
  Disease (COPD). Patients with asthma and COPD
  are more sensitive than the general population to
  changes in outdoor air quality made worse by
  climate change. These lung conditions can be
  aggravated by smoke from more frequent and
  longer-lasting wildfires, longer pollen seasons, and
  more ground-level ozone (a component of smog).

  Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's disease can
  impair judgment and responses in a crisis
  situation, such as an extreme weather event,
  which can place people at greater risk.

  Mental Illness. Some medications for certain
  mental  illnesses can increase sensitivity to heat
  stress. Extreme weather events may also disrupt
  communication lines and social support networks
  that people with mental illnesses need to stay
This fact sheet is based on "The Impacts of Climate
Change on Human Health in the United States: A
Scientific Assessment." To explore the full report, go to:

Learn More

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Air Pollution & Respiratory Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Diabetes
Emergency Preparedness

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Disaster
Information for People with Chronic Conditions and

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heat and
People with Chronic Medical Conditions

Climate Change: Human Health
                                                       Climate Change: What You Can Do
                                                       https://www3 .epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/
EPA 430-F-16-059
May 2016