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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Exercising Body And Mind

A correspondent who has very severe reactions to fragrance products sent an item below referring to the death of a young man.

Quote: “I sometimes wonder if we are lucky to sense the toxins in our environment while others seem not to notice. I read in last week's local newspaper the heading 'Man, 20, Victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome'. Because I've heard of two similar unexpected and inexplicable deaths of sons of people I've known, in the last few months, and have this theory that chemicals are catching up with the frailties of the human body.

I read the article closely....He was found dead in his car, on the way to work around 8 am . "An inquest in Millom heard the syndrome has afflicted around 500 fit and healthy young men with normal hearts in this country."

I can't help but wonder if he'd sprayed in Lynx, used hair gel and hi-tec detergents, etc. It can be assumed that the coroner would not have looked into such matters!! Glancing back, I see the words: "There were no other medical reasons, no drugs, no alcohol.

In view of the fact that as many as one in 20 of these deaths cannot be explained, I wonder whether or not to contact the coroner's office and ask if they take air pollution into account." Unquote.

Also quote from the item: “The answer often given by Coroners and others is what the call Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) Quote: “In about 1 in every 20 cases of sudden cardiac death, no definite cause of death can be found, even after the heart has been examined by an expert cardiac pathologist.

This is then called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. In the past it has also been called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome or Sudden Death Syndrome but, because it affects children too, the term Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome is now used. It is thought that cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS) may be partly due to the same causes responsible for SADS.” Unquote.

In short they don’t really know but give it a scientific type bit of jargon. What is known is that people might suddenly feel unwell, become dizzy, and then collapse. The pulse may well be racing.

However, in the case of fit young men there is a well known condition, Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis, (just Google it) that can and does occur. In 2005 I appeared on a TV health programme alongside a young man prone to this, but who had survived. Very simply, if after exercise or some vigorous activity he consumed carbohydrate rich foods or drinks he would then “crash out” in a full blown anaphylactic shock.

From emedicine dot medscape dot com: “Exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA) is a syndrome in which patients experience the symptoms of anaphylaxis, which occur only after increased physical activity. The symptoms include pruritus and urticaria (typically with giant hives), and, without emergency intervention, the patient may develop hypotension and collapse. Now increasingly recognized as more children and teenagers participate in physical activities and sports, exercise-induced anaphylaxis may become more common in the future. Those affected by the syndrome are typically accomplished athletes and have a history of atopy, but anyone can be affected.”

So how is it that so many Coroners around the UK do not even consider this issue? How is it that unless the evidence is overwhelming they are almost all unwilling to consider the possibility of anaphylaxis in sudden deaths? Certainly, it is complex. There is now a test that can be used to identify this cause of death but it needs to be administered within hours of the event. Beyond that it can be more difficult and only if the casualty has a history of anaphylactic shocks will they admit that this can be involved.

The severe allergies arising from foods are bad, but with chemicals, as the contaminants in fragranced products, the situation is nastier in that the shocks can be significantly worse with a greater risk of one being terminal. It might be possible in these cases to find a cause but this would take thorough and careful immunological and forensic testing. This is expensive. Bluntly it is quicker, easier and a lot less problematical to stick a label saying SADS on it and hope that no questions will be asked.

If it became apparent that there was a class of substances that carried serious risks then this could lead to political and other issues that would be very inconvenient in a number of ways. We have been here before historically with Coroners. During the 19th Century there was a distinct reluctance by many to admit that substances in food and drink and in working situations were potentially lethal. During the 20th Century much the same applied. Coroners, with a small number of honourable exceptions have tended to go for the quick, cheap and easy answer.

So far as the latest ranges of perfume pollutants are concerned it is my view that their prevalence, power, and penetration could soon trigger something nasty in the health of many people. The developing numbers of those with severe asthma and possibly toxic reactions to these could soon generate more widespread chemical anaphylaxis with all the consequences.

Will the Coroners then wake up to what is happening, literally, under their noses?

1 comment:

  1. It's no wonder the bereaved can come away feeling something is missing, untold or covered up.

    It might be more honest, get more media, public and political attention if coroners where forced to use terms like Unknown or Undiagnosed or such in their fancy titles for causes of death. How about NFCS - No F*!@ing Clue Syndrome.