November 26, 2022

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Can you live in an unheated house? “Cold is worse than heat” | Health

At the end of the year, energy moderation is the key word. Gas and electricity prices have risen so high that some households are still reluctant to turn on the heat. But is it dangerous to live in a house without heat? What are the effects on our health and mind? Answers.

The beginning of autumn was very mild, which allowed many families to delay the lucky moment to change the heat. But now, the temperature is dropping, which may sway some diehards who have decided to bundle up in five layers of clothing for the winter. However, be aware of the consequences. In some poorly insulated or poorly oriented dwellings, the temperature can be very low. According to Professor Damian Bailey of the University of South Wales, these will drop to less than 10°C.

The scientist conducted an experiment, to which he invited a BBC journalist. The latter was locked in a room where the temperature could drop to at least 10°C. The idea was to see what effect cold would have on the brain, heart or even lungs. Chills can cause a decrease in blood flow to the brain, a slight increase in heart rate and breathing rate, and a decrease in temperature of the extremities (fingers, toes, ears, nose, etc.). Increase in blood pressure, but slight decline in mental abilities.

Stroke and heart attack risks

A BBC reporter was surprised to find that it took longer to solve a simple shape game at 10°C compared to the room at 21°C at the start of the experiment. “The brain receives less blood, therefore less oxygen and less glucose (sugar), which has a negative impact on intellectual gymnastics,” explains Professor Bailey.

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As for the increase in blood pressure, it increases the risk of stroke or heart attack. “Cold is worse than heat. The number of deaths caused by cold waves is higher than that of heat waves. So it is important to recognize the risks associated with it,” concludes the Welsh professor.

mental health

Not heating your home doesn’t just affect physical health, it can have psychological effects as well. According to a study Published in the scientific journal Science Direct Last October, living in an inadequately heated home “doubles the chance of suffering from severe depression”. Among those who had mild psychotic symptoms before the start of the study, the risk tripled.

To conduct their study, Australian researchers Amy Clare and Emma Baker analyzed data from a large sample of adults in the United Kingdom. They concluded that not being able to warm oneself properly, especially because of lack of access, may increase the rate of stress. Inability to stay warm also affects social life. “People who cannot heat their homes often adopt measures to limit social contact, for example by not inviting friends over, or going to bed early to stay warm,” the study says.

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