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Heat waves kill more people, on average, than any other extreme weather event. Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, the largest hospital in Israel and the Middle East, recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on innovative ways to diagnose, treat and prevent this common and potentially deadly condition.
As deadly hot weather has set records across Europe this week and temperatures continue to rise across the globe, doctors and researchers at Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, are addressing the deadly risk of heatstroke.
Professor of Physiology Dr. Yoram Epstein and Research Physiologist Dr. Ran Yanovich of Sheba Medical Center’s Heller Institute of Medical Research just published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heatstroke – a condition that is all too often overlooked and misinterpreted.
Exertional heatstroke, brought on by strenuous activity, is usually seen in young, active people. On the other hand, classic heatstroke, associated with heat waves, is more common in the elderly and can become an epidemic during summer months.
Cooling and fluids are essential to treating heatstroke, and at times, intensive care is needed. However, the best route is prevention.
“Proactive steps should be taken to mitigate the risk of heatstroke. These include staying in air conditioning, using fans, taking cool showers and decreasing physical exertion. Heatstroke can be a life-threatening condition if it is not promptly recognized and effectively treated,“ said Dr. Yanovich. Dr. Ran Yanovich, who is also an IDF Major, works closely with the Israel Defense Forces, where he specializes in heatstroke in hot battlefield climates.
Other preventative measures include encouraging athletes not to over-exert themselves and addressing socioeconomic issues that augment risk.
But more research still needs to be done. Scientists want to learn more about genetic traits that might reduce a person’s ability to cope with heat stress, search for new biomarkers that can better predict short and long-term outcomes of heatstroke and develop new treatments that can effectively control complications from this condition.
Dr. Yoram Epstein and Dr. Ran Yanovich of Sheba Medical Center are available for interviews. Contact Jodie Singer at 202-597-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.