The followingarticle was contributed by Deputy Editor Jang Ik-kyung of WOW TV, the TV arm ofthe leading Korean-language economic daily, Hankuk Kyungje Shinmun.?Ed.
When it rains, you feel not as well as you do whenthe weather is fine. Doctors say that it is not just your feeling but that therain actually affects your health. It is called meteorotropism, or weatherailments, which is a popular topic of discussion among Internet users thesedays. Here are questions and answersconcerning the weather ailments:
Question: Doweather changes really affect the physical/mental conditions of man?
Answer:Yes. In fact, in Germany the weathermen, when they give a forecast, they areknown to also give a warning on weather diseases. They say, “Tomorrow we willhave a low atmospheric pressure and a cold front and if you have rash (urticarial),please be careful.”
In Korea, from olden times, the senior citizensused to say: “My knees are aching and I must say it might rain soon.”
This should also be considered a sign ofmeteorotropism.
Q: Please explaina bit more about the meterorotropism.
A: Meteorotropismmeans diseases that come from changes in weather, humidity and atmosphericpressure. The human body has an adjustment function that keeps the body on acertain level of conditions. However, this function of adjustment becomesaffected when the weather changes.
Q: So when thefunction of adjustment is affected, does it also affect the harmony of the mindand body, and cause an ailment?
A:Yes. I will cite an instance. Some people suffer from headache when there is a thickcloud or when it is a day before rain comes. This is also a kind of weatherailment. Experts say that it comes from changes in the proportion of anion andcation in the atmosphere. The ion near the surface of earth is mostly negativeion and when it rains or when it is cloudy positive ion increases in the lowatmospheric pressure on the earth. And this decreases the secretion ofserotonin in the body causing headache.
Q: During thechange of seasons, people catch cold or get Momsal (aching from fatigue). Theyalso catch air-conditioningitis in summer from excessive exposure to cold air.Are they also a kind of weather ailment?
A:Yes. Also affected by the weather are people suffering from asthma, myocardialinfarction, neuralgia, rheumatism, appendicitis, thrombus and gallstonetrouble. The patients of the intractable Behcet’s disease is also known to beaffected by the weather change and so are the mental cases.
Q: We hearthat when it is cold, patients of joint diseases must be very careful. Is thistrue?
A:Jointpatients have pain in the joint when it is about to rain. This is because ofthe change in the atmospheric pressure. On a bright day, the internalorganization of the joint maintains a balance with the external atmosphericpressure. When the pressure is low, it increases pressure inside the joint andalso expands the joint fluid, which in turn irritates the cartilage andsynovia, which causes the pain.
Q: When itrains, you feel somewhat depressed. Is this also related with the change ofweather?
A:Yes. When it is cloudy or rainy, it decreases the secretion of serotonin (hormonethat makes you feel good) and makes you feel tired, sleepy and/or depressed.
Q: Do youthink that people suffering from depression must be careful?
A:Not only the temporary patients but also chronic mental cases are classifiedweather disease patients. When low pressure front approaches, it increases theacetylcholine in the body which disrupts the automatic nervous system andcauses nervous anxiety. For your information, when it rains some people getrash and this is called ‘cold allergy’ which is also a kind of weather disease.This comes as histamine causes allergic rash on the skin.
Q: So, theweather changes really affect the physical conditions of man, much more thanare commonly known. What are the conditions that cause the weather diseases?
A:Approach of low atmospheric pressure, passage of the cold front and the Foenphenomenon are known to affect the patents and this is known to derive fromquick changes in pressure, temperature, humidity and wind.
Q: What shouldwe do stay away from such ill effects of the weather changes?
A:Most important is to maintain the most comfortable atmosphere in the room. Theoptimum room temperatures are 18 to 20 degrees centigrade although it dependson the seasons. The optimum humidity is around 60 degrees.
It is also helps to have exercise, rest and hygieniccare in order to improve one’s resistance against diseases. It is alsorecommendable to take a walk, jogging, aerobic exercise and to stimulate thefoot sole.