As winter and spring fade away, high summer temperatures are just around the corner, and with them could be a greater risk of developing urinary tract infections and other renal conditions. A study recently appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported an association between rising average temperatures and an increased risk of being hospitalized for urinary tract infections and other urinary problems.
Urinary tract infections are usually caused by germs that enter through the urethra and travel up into the bladder and kidneys. Most urinary tract infections affect the bladder, and they typically are not serious if they are treated as soon as possible.
Untreated bladder infections can spread to the kidneys, and kidney (renal) infections can cause permanent damage.
The new study evaluated data from 147,885 hospital admissions involving renal diagnoses during July and August 1991 through 2004 in New York State. Investigators factored in temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure data and found an overall 9% increased risk of hospitalization for acute renal failure per 5 degrees F and for urinary tract infections, lower urinary calculi, and other lower urinary tract disorders.
People most at risk for hospitalization included blacks, Hispanics, people aged 25 to 44 years, and individuals in the lowest income quartile. The authors noted their findings may help identify people vulnerable for urinary tract infections and other renal conditions during times of high summer temperatures.
Fletcher BA. Association of summer temperatures with hospital admissions for renal diseases in New York state: a case-crossover study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2012; 175 (9): 907-16.