TOO MUCH HEAT CAN PUT YOUR HEALTH AT RISK MORE THAN YOU THINK

Frazdic Sta. Ana

As the summer heat blankets the Philippines with its sweltering embrace, it's not just about sweating it out under the sun. For many Filipinos, this season brings a host of health concerns that are often exacerbated by the relentless heat. From hypertension to joint pain, and everything in between, understanding the interplay between summer weather and health is crucial for safeguarding well-being. This article delves into the intricate relationship between summer heat and prevalent health conditions like hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, GERD, allergic rhinitis, asthma, joint pain, and gout, providing a comprehensive look at real statistics, studies, and actionable insights tailored to the Filipino context.

 

Hypertension in the Heat:

Hypertension, often referred to as the "silent killer," affects a significant portion of the Filipino population. According to a study conducted by the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), hypertension prevalence peaks during the summer months, with a noticeable rise in blood pressure levels correlating with increased temperatures. The combination of heat, humidity, and lifestyle factors such as excessive salt intake and decreased physical activity during summer festivities contributes to this surge in hypertension cases. To combat this, experts emphasize the importance of staying hydrated, avoiding excessive salt consumption, and seeking shade during peak sun hours. Additionally, regular blood pressure monitoring and consultation with a healthcare provider are paramount for effective hypertension management.

 

Dyslipidemia and Diabetes under the Summer Sun:

Dyslipidemia and diabetes, both prevalent metabolic conditions in the Philippines, face heightened challenges during the summer season. Research from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) reveals a concerning trend: an increase in cholesterol levels among Filipinos during the summer months, attributed partly to dietary indiscretions and reduced physical activity. Moreover, a study published in the Philippine Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism highlights a correlation between rising temperatures and elevated blood glucose levels among diabetic individuals. The Filipino penchant for indulging in calorific treats during summer festivities further exacerbates these metabolic disorders. To mitigate the risk, healthcare professionals advocate for a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adherence to prescribed medications for individuals with dyslipidemia and diabetes. Moreover, periodic consultations with healthcare providers allow for timely adjustments to treatment regimens, ensuring optimal disease management throughout the year.

 

GERD: A Burning Concern in the Summer Months:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) rears its uncomfortable head with increased frequency during the scorching summer days. A study conducted at a tertiary hospital in Metro Manila reveals a surge in GERD-related hospital visits during summer, with factors such as spicy foods, carbonated beverages, and excessive heat exacerbating symptoms. Filipino cuisine, renowned for its rich flavors and spices, poses a particular challenge for individuals prone to GERD. To alleviate discomfort, healthcare professionals recommend dietary modifications, including the avoidance of spicy and acidic foods, as well as the adoption of lifestyle changes such as eating smaller, more frequent meals and refraining from lying down immediately after eating. However, in cases of persistent or severe symptoms, consultation with a gastroenterologist is essential for proper diagnosis and management.

 

The Summer Respiratory Dilemma: Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma:

For individuals with allergic rhinitis and asthma, summer heralds not only the promise of sunshine but also the dreaded onset of respiratory symptoms. The Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI) notes a seasonal variation in allergy and asthma cases, peaking during the summer months [5]. The combination of high temperatures, increased humidity, and elevated levels of airborne allergens like pollen and dust exacerbates respiratory distress among susceptible individuals. To minimize exposure to allergens, healthcare experts advise staying indoors during peak pollen hours, using air purifiers, and keeping windows closed. Additionally, adherence to prescribed medications, including inhalers and antihistamines, is crucial for maintaining control over allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms. Regular check-ups with allergists and pulmonologists ensure that treatment plans are optimized for individual needs and seasonal variations.

 

Joint Pain and Gout: A Summer Struggle:

Summer heat intensifies the plight of individuals suffering from joint pain and gout, casting a shadow over their seasonal festivities. A study published in the Philippine Orthopedic Journal highlights a surge in joint pain cases during summer, with heat and dehydration identified as key triggers. Similarly, the Philippine Rheumatology Association (PRA) notes an increase in gout attacks during warmer months, attributed to dehydration and the consumption of purine-rich foods commonly enjoyed during summer celebrations. To alleviate symptoms, healthcare professionals recommend staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged sun exposure, and adhering to dietary recommendations for gout management, including the moderation of alcohol and purine intake. Moreover, regular consultations with rheumatologists facilitate proactive management of joint pain and gout, ensuring that individuals can fully participate in summer activities without being hindered by their condition.

 

As summer casts its fiery glow upon the Philippines, it's crucial to recognize the profound impact of heat on health. From hypertension and dyslipidemia to GERD, allergic rhinitis, asthma, joint pain, and gout, summer exacerbates a myriad of health conditions, posing significant challenges to Filipino well-being. By staying informed, adopting preventive measures, and seeking timely medical care, individuals can navigate the summer heat with greater resilience and vitality. Remember, doctor consultation remains one of the most potent weapons in the arsenal against summer health woes, ensuring personalized care and proactive management tailored to individual needs.

 

Sources:

Philippine Heart Association (PHA) - https://www.philheart.org/

Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) - https://fnri.dost.gov.ph/

Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism - https://www.philippinemedicalassociation.org/philippine-society-of-endocrinology-diabetes-and-metabolism-psedm/

Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI) - https://psaai.org/

Philippine Orthopedic Journal - https://philjorthopaedics.org/index.php/pjo

Philippine Rheumatology Association (PRA) - https://www.rheumatologyph.org/