Everyone understands the devastation caused by storms and hurricanes. The proof is everywhere: news, Internet, and by talking to victims or victims’ family members. Not many are aware that aside from the direct effects of hurricanes of human lives and property. There are other effects that reveal themselves long after the floods have gone and the winds have died down.
According to a New Orleans heart doctor, Anand Irimpen, after Hurricane Katrina, more people were having heart attacks. He said in a recent interview that he decided to study the situation more closely.
After his research, he compared the phenomenon to a second “major disaster” and there was a 3-fold spike in heart attacks across the city sustained for three years after the hurricane. He adds that the main cause for the heart attacks was stress
Irimpen, who is the chief of cardiology in a Louisiana health care system and teacher with Tulane University, also spoke to many of the heart attack patients and their family. The talks revealed that the stress came from the struggles of getting their lives back in order and in trying to rebuild their homes and property. Others had to evacuate and save money or wait for the insurance to process their claims which took over 2 years.
Aside from the increase in heart attack cases in the city, there was also an increase in psychosocial conditions and social stress. Many people began to experience hypertension and diabetes. Even more began to smoke or began to smoke more often. There was also a report of more drug use and abuse as well as demand for prescription drugs.
People living in hurricane-prone areas should re-think their insurance and property maintenance. They should go over their homes and other properties to see what they can do to augment erosion or structures that can be affected by hurricanes. Needless to say, those who invested in protecting their homes and assets were able to move forward faster after the hurricanes because there was less to fix and rebuild. Their stress levels were temporary and quickly resolved by cleaning up and getting back to their routines.