When Doctors Speak, Patients Listen

By path2positive

Climate change has become a trending topic in headlines across the country. Most commonly, these headlines occur in national news publications focusing on the weather. Now, doctors are recognizing a trend relating to climate change: it impacts their patients' health. A survey of medical professionals from the American Thoracic Society points to these findings. It used to be that climate change was the business of environmentalists and weathermen. Now that it has health effects, the topic belongs to all of us.

Medical knowledge develops according to scientific findings. As researchers learn more about the far-reaching implications of climate change, they begin to ask good questions. As the article below points out, these questions are uncovering key information about ways that climate and health overlap. If you are in the medical profession, you can play a role in inspiring others to recognize the importance of caring for our climate.

Survey Finds Doctors Concerned about Impacts of Climate Change on Patient Health

By Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post, January 7, 2015

WASHINGTON -– American medical professionals specializing in respiratory conditions and critical care are concerned about what climate change may mean for patient health, a new survey finds.

A survey of members of the American Thoracic Society, which represents 15,000 physicians and other medical professionals who work in the fields of respiratory disease, critical care and sleep disorder, finds that the majority of respondents said they were already seeing health effects in their patients that they believe are linked to climate change. Seventy-seven percent said they have seen an increase in chronic diseases related to air pollution, and 58 percent said they'd seen increased allergic reactions from plants or mold. Fifty-seven percent of participants said they'd also seen injuries related to severe weather.

An overwhelming majority -- 89 percent -- agreed that climate change is happening, and 65 percent said they thought climate change was relevant to direct patient care. Forty-four percent said they thought climate change was already affecting the health of their patients a "great deal" or a "moderate amount." Strong majorities of respondents also said that heat, vector-borne infections, air pollution and allergies would likely affect patients in the next 10 to 20 years.

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