What are the racial predilections for heat stroke?

Updated: Aug 02, 2019
  • Author: Robert S Helman, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

With the same risk factors and under the same environmental conditions, heat stroke affects all races equally. However, because of differences in social advantages, the annual death rate due to environmental conditions is more than three times higher in blacks than in whites. [5, 6] Factors investigated as influencing this disparity include housing and neighborhood characteristics (eg, urban heat islands, crime and safety), using air conditioning (more common among whites, particularly central air conditioning), opening windows, using fans, using cooler public spaces, and social isolation.

With the same risk factors and under the same environmental conditions, heat stroke affects both sexes equally. However, because males are more likely to work outside and in hot conditions, the annual death rate from heat stroke is two times higher in men than in women.


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