Impact of Global Climate Change on Pulmonary Health: Susceptible and Vulnerable Populations
As fossil fuel combustion continues to power the global economy, the rate of climate change is accelerating, causing severe respiratory health impacts and large disparities in the degree of human suffering. Hotter and drier climates lead to longer and more severe wildland fire seasons, impairing air quality around the globe. Hotter temperatures lead to higher amounts of ozone and particles, causing the exacerbation of chronic respiratory diseases and premature mortality. Longer pollen seasons and higher pollen concentrations provoke allergic airway diseases. In arid regions, accelerated land degradation and desertification are promoting dust pollution and impairing food production and nutritional content that are essential to respiratory health.
Extreme weather events and flooding impede healthcare delivery and can lead to poor indoor air quality due to mold overgrowth. Climate and human activities that harm the environment and ecosystem may also affect the emergence and spread of viral infections, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and associated morbidity and mortality exacerbated by air pollution. Children and elderly individuals are more susceptible to the adverse health effects of climate change. Geographical and socioeconomic circumstances, together with a decreased capacity to adapt, collectively increase vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change. Successful mitigation of anthropogenic climate change is dependent on the commitment of energy-intensive nations to manage greenhouse gas emissions, as well as societal support and response to aggravating factors. In this review, we focus on the respiratory health impacts of global climate change, with an emphasis on susceptible and vulnerable populations and low- and middle-income countries.
Pulmonologists, critical care specialists, translational researchers, and clinicians
At the conclusion of this activity, learners should be able to:
- Describe new findings about the impact of global climate change on respiratory health
- Analyze findings about susceptible and vulnerable groups, populations, and countries, which are more affected from adverse impacts of global climate
- Apply mitigation and prevention strategies towards side effects of global climate change on the society, including patients, in their daily practice
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Article Authorship Disclosures (as submitted to the ATS prior to article publication date)
Hasan Bayram, M.D., (Koç University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkiye) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Mary B. Rice, M.D., M.P.H., (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA) is a program committee chair of the Environmental, Occupational and Population Health Assembly of the American Thoracic Society. She reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Waleed Abdalati, Ph.D., (University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Muge Akpinar Elci, M.D., M.P.H., (University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Mehdi Mirsaeidi, M.D., M.P.H. (University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Isabella Annesi-Maesano, M.D., Ph.D., (University of Montpellier and INSERM, Montpellier, France) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Kent E. Pinkerton, M.D., Ph.D., (University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA) reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
John R. Balmes, M.D., (University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA) is a Physician Member of the California Air Resources Board (Cal/EPA). He reported no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.
Off-Label Usage Disclosure
Disclosures of AnnalsATS CME Planners
The Annals of the American Thoracic Society (AnnalsATS) original research, commentaries, reviews, and educational content of interest to clinicians and clinical investigators in pediatric and adult pulmonary and sleep medicine and medical critical care. The scope of the journal encompasses content that is applicable to clinical practice, the formative and continuing education of clinical specialists, and the advancement of public health.
The publication of articles that meet these goals by itself is only one step in a multi-step process for the translation of evidence-based improvements in are to clinical practice. Testing for CME credit is designed to function as a next step in the process. This is accomplished through a series of questions written by the author(s) to test that readers have the tools needed to translate recommendations for diagnostic and therapeutic clinical care into clinical practice. Members of the AnnalsATS editorial board review these questions and edit these questions for clarity, educational content, and the quality of the evidence supporting the response to the question.
AnnalsATS CME Planners
Margaret M. Hayes, M.D.
Harvard Medical School, Boston MA, USA
Dr. Hayes reported receiving payments as an author for a chapter on heliox for UpToDate.
Silpa Krefft, M.D., M.P.H.
Video Editor, AnnalsATS
University of Colorado, Denver CO, USA
Dr. Krefft reported providing medicolegal consulting in the area of occupational lung disease.
Caroline Okorie, M.D., M.P.H.
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford CA, USA
Dr. Okorie reported no financial relationships with ineligible companies.
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