Mental Health

3 ways Climate Change Affects Your Health

Climate change is all-encompassing. The global rise in temperature affects your health including issues such as fertility and breast cancer. Read on.

By D Tejaswi
07 Jun 2022

A comparative analysis of 130 peer-reviewed studies in Carbon Brief shows that women are at a greater health risk, both physical and mental, from climate change than men. Recent data points out a series of health complications when it comes to fertility and neonatal outcomes for women. “Rise in temperature, air pollutants such as PM2.5 (particles that have diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) causes adverse obstetric outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth,” notes the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Also, toxic exposures to air pollutants such as Nitric Oxide (NO) cause neurodevelopmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, and cardiac defects notes JAMA Pediatrics.


Here’s more on climate change and its impact on your health.


Delays conception

A study published in Demography says that higher temperatures have a significant negative effect on fertility and birth rates. The study considered birth rates in the United States between 1931 and 2010 and found that a mean temperature of 80-degree Fahrenheit caused a large decline in birth rates 8 to 10 months later. Studies find that sperm production falls in hot weather and also women’s fertility declines due to heat stress. Heat stress damages both the oocyte and early embryo by as prior as 105 days before ovulation, finds Theriogenology.


Related Story: 7 myths about female fertility and conception


Adequate airway protection, Breathing, Circulation, also known as ABC, and adequate rehydration can alleviate symptoms of heat exhaustion, says StatPearls Publishing, the largest library of medical education in the world.


Increases susceptibility to breast cancer

Your body’s immunity gets compromised under excessive heat. Global climate change (GCC) alters many environmental variables such as temperature, precipitation, salinity and pH to disrupt the toxicokinetics (disposition of toxicants) of chemical absorption in the body. Therefore, we can say that cancer chemicals like pesticides can cause more harm to your bodies, concludes BMC Research Notes. Also, in general when the intensity of radiation increases in sunlight, the spatial variations can cause a host of physiological reactions in your body, which further reduces the immunity to cancer causing toxins.


How do you improve your body’s ability to cope up? The research is still underway on how to prevent breast cancer in the context of environmental health and prevention.


Related Story: How to do a breast self-exam?


Affects your mental health

Women are more vulnerable than men to the impacts of climate change and mental health, finds a report in UN Chronicle, a report by United Nations. And, of many direct and indirect effects caused by climate change, psychological stress is seldom highlighted, the reason being the stigma and disassociation with it. But increased mental stress is a very important issue with climate change. Not just the heat waves due to global warming but also the socio-economic changes in labor markets and food insecurities can cause huge amounts of mental strain on women, and can cause anxiety, mood disorders, aggressive behaviors, depression, and traumatic stress finds Frontiers in Psychiatry.

One way to work towards is to be calm by trying mindfulness practice such as meditation. “Also, finding someone to talk to, not just therapist, can help channel your feelings and connect with others,” says American Psychological Association.


Related Story: How to calm the mind and get a goodnight’s sleep?




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