Too much heat leads to 'emotional sunstroke'

Cai Wenjun
Doctors warn of problems that include irritation, bad temper and memory loss if there are a number of consecutive days when temperatures are over 35 degrees Celsius. 
Cai Wenjun

Hot days may not only trigger sunstroke but risk a condition known as “emotional sunstroke” manifested by irritation, bad temper and a loss of memory, according to local medical experts.

The condition is likely to appear if temperatures continue to exceed 35 degrees Celsius over a number of days.

“Under continuous high-temperature days, central nerves charging emotion at the hypothalamus can have disorder,” said Dr Zhang Yajun from Shanghai Yodak Cardio-Thoracic Hospital. “At the same time, sweat can cause loss of water, concentration of blood and loss of potassium, sodium and chlorine, resulting in an overactive sympathetic nerve. This can result in a quicker heartbeat and higher blood pressure. So people can become irritable, emotional and even violent.”

People suffering from emotional sunstroke can experience tightness in the chest, headaches and poor sleep. The people most likely to suffer from it are those working outdoors, the elderly, people with weak immunity and those with underlying diseases such as coronary disease and hypertension, doctors said.

“Occasional emotional sunstroke is not serious,” Zhang said. However, she added, “people with symptoms such as chest discomfort three times a week and lasting for one month should go to hospital.”

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