Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.125

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., PhD., Yuki Senoo


249. Beware of economy class syndrome (traveler’s thrombosis)

October 27, 2019

  First, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered and are still suffering from the damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis (19th typhoon), which struck Japan in October 2019. Many people are still struggling to recover from the damage, including flooding, water shortages, and mud and waste disposal.


Based on the experience and lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, there are several health risks we should be aware of following disasters.

Some of you may already know the term “economy class syndrome,” or traveler’s syndrome—a potentially life-threatening disease caused by a blood clot in a vein located deep in the thighs or calves. This clot has a risk of blocking the blood circulation in a lung when it breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.

Economic class syndrome can develop from lack of exercise; for example, not moving much in an evacuation area or disaster-stricken home, staying in a car overnight, or dehydration. Furthermore, elderly people and those with cancer should be particularly careful.


However, there are plenty of ways to prevent the development of a clot. For example, moving ankles back and forth regularly, massaging calves, not sleeping in a sitting position if you stay overnight in a vehicle, drinking water frequently, and wearing elastic stockings are effective preventive measures.


It is particularly important to stay hydrated. Even when you are not sweating, you lose about a liter of water a day through your skin and breathing. Dehydration can lead to the formation of clots in blood vessels and contributes to constipation and heat attacks in winter. It is important not to cut back on water intake because of limited water supply or to avoid frequent visits to the bathroom.


250. Beware of high blood pressure during the post-disaster period

November 03, 2019

 First of all, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered and are still suffering from the damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis (the 19th typhoon), which struck Japan in October 2019. From the experience of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, there are several health risks we should be aware of and take measures to counter following disasters.


 One challenge in health promotion following disasters is hypertension management. When there is a change in the living environment, people tend to have an unbalanced diet, take in a lot of food preserved using salt, and lack sleep. Besides, after a disaster, people are under tremendous stress and will remain in an alert state for a long time.


  For these reasons, blood pressure is likely to increase for about three months following a disaster. Furthermore, when one’s blood pressure remains high for a prolonged time, it puts a strain on important organs such as the brain and heart. As a result, having high blood pressure can lead to myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, and stroke. Therefore, even when you don’t feel tired, it is important to make it a habit to manage your health and take care of your body.


 After the disaster, some people had to discontinue medical treatments due to the damage caused to the medical facilities. Although it is best to get some form of prescription from another medical facility to continue treatment, it is also very important to keep close communication with family and neighbors and talk to each other after a disaster.


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The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, 27th October and 3rd 2019 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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