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Cold homes are associated with poor biomarkers and less blood pressure check-up: English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, 2012–2013

Ivy Shiue
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.7 pp. 7055-7059
ambient temperature, biomarkers, blood, blood pressure, chi-square distribution, cholesterol, cold, demographic statistics, elderly, energy efficiency, heat, hemoglobin, interviews, issues and policy, leukocyte count, linear models, longitudinal studies, people, residential housing, risk, somatomedins, t-test, vitamin D, England
It has been known that outdoor temperature influences seasonal fluctuation of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but the role of indoor temperature has been less studied. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the associations between indoor temperature and biomarkers in a countrywide and population-based setting. Data was retrieved from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, 2012–2013. Information on demographics, room temperature and a series of biomarkers measured in the blood and lung was obtained at household interviews. t test, chi-square test and a generalized linear model were performed cross-sectionally. Of 7997 older adults with the valid indoor temperature measurements, there were 1301 (16.3 %) people who resided in cold homes (<18 °C). Age was inversely associated with people who resided in cold homes or who tended not to have blood pressure check-up. Those who resided in cold homes had higher blood pressure readings, worse handgrip, lower vitamin D levels, higher cholesterol levels, higher insulin-like growth factor levels, higher haemoglobin levels, lower level of white blood cell count and worse lung conditions. One in six older adults aged 50 and above in England resided in cold homes and had poor biomarker values. For the future research direction, studies with a longitudinal approach to systematically monitor indoor temperature, biomarkers and health and wellbeing would be suggested. From the practice and policy perspectives, increasing health knowledge on the adverse effect of low indoor temperature on risks of cardiac and respiratory conditions, affording to the heating and re-designing of residential buildings to keep warm by using efficient energy, should be kept as priority.