Sunday December 16, 2018

Deaths related to Heart Disease go up around Christmas: Here is why!

The average age of cardiac death was 76.2 years during the Christmas period, compared with 77.1 years during other times of the year

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Christmas also marks the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pixabay
Christmas also marks the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pixabay
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Melbourne, Dec 23, 2016: Deaths related to heart disease go up around Christmas and they are not because of the cold winter season when death rates are usually at a seasonal high, says a study.

Debunking the belief that the spike in deaths during Christmas is mainly due to the cold winter season, the study said that people tend to hold back in seeking medical care during the holiday season, a factor that could probably explain the rise in such deaths.
“Spikes in deaths from natural causes during Christmas and New Year’s Day has been previously established in the US,” said study author Josh Knight from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

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“However, the Christmas holiday period (December 25th to January 7th) in the US falls within the coldest period of the year when death rates are already seasonally high due to low temperatures and influenza,” Knight said.

In this study, researchers analysed trends in deaths in New Zealand, where Christmas occurs during the summer season when death rates are usually at a seasonal low — allowing researchers to separate any winter effect from a holiday effect.

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The study — published in JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association — found a 4.2 per cent increase in heart-related deaths occurring away from a hospital from December 25 – January 7.

During the 25-year study, the average age of cardiac death was 76.2 years during the Christmas period, compared with 77.1 years during other times of the year.

Although more research is needed to explain the spike in deaths, the researchers suggested one possibility may be that patients hold back in seeking medical care during the holiday season.

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“The Christmas holiday period is a common time for travel within New Zealand, with people frequently holidaying away from their main medical facilities. This could contribute to delays in both seeking treatment, due to a lack of familiarity with nearby medical facilities, and due to geographic isolation from appropriate medical care in emergency situations,” Knight said. (IANS)

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After Being Stranded, 145 Pilot Whales Die In New Zealand

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand's coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year

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Pilot whales
Pilot whales. Flickr

About 145 pilot whales died in New Zealand after being stranded during the weekend on Stewart Island in the extreme south of the country, officials said on Monday.

A hiker alerted authorities on Saturday night about the situation of the whales, who were stranded in Mason Bay in two separate groups about two kilometers apart, a Department of Conservation of New Zealand release said.

Pilot whales
Almost 150 whales die in mass stranding. BBC

Half of the whales were dead when rescuers arrived and the condition of the rest, by the time they were found, was so bad it was decided to euthanise them, said Ren Leppens, operations manager at Rakiura.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise,” said Leppens.

Pilot whales
A volunteer looks after a whale, part of a pod of stranded pilot whales.

Pilot whales, also called long-finned pilot whale, are a specimen with a bulging forehead and a robust body that can reach between six and seven meters in length, Xinhua news agency reported.

Also Read: The Ocean And Its Climate Crisis

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand’s coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year, most of them to save these animals individually.

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions. (IANS)