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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

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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New Zealand Bans Use of Single-Use Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick

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Plastic shopping bags in the fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets are the only exemption. Wikimedia Commons

Single-use plastic bags have been officially banned for all New Zealand retailers from Monday. As stipulated by the Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018, which came into force on Monday, New Zealand retailers including stores, supermarkets and restaurants will no longer be able to sell or distribute any single-use plastic shopping bags, reports Xinhua news agency.

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick. Plastic shopping bags in the fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets are the only exemption.

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Businesses were given six months ahead of the ban to phase-out single-use plastic bags. Wikimedia Commons

New Zealand Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said that the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags is a step towards healthier oceans and giving nature a hand.

ALSO READ: Greenpeace Asks for Ambitious Measures from G20 Group to Tackle The Plastic Waste Crisis

“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and want to help ensure we live up to it. The plastic shopping bag ban is one step to tackle New Zealand’s waste issues. We also need to recharge our materials recovery and recycling systems and shift to a circular economy,” Sage said.

Mainstream supermarkets have already made the change away from single-use plastic shopping bags. Businesses were given six months ahead of the ban to phase-out single-use plastic bags. (IANS)