Chinese Parents Increasingly Suffering Heart Attacks and Strokes While Helping Kids with Homework

Stressed Chinese parents are reportedly suffering heart attacks and strokes while helping their children with homework, especially math.

One evening in January, Ms. Dong, a 40-year-old mother-of-two from Hangzhou, was helping one of her sons with his math homework when she lost her cool because the child didn’t understand a problem. Soon after this outburst, the woman felt a splitting headache, followed by vomiting. She tried laying down for a few hours, but her condition didn’t improve at all, so she went to the hospital. After a thorough examination and a CT scan, Ms. Dong was diagnosed with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage, a minor stroke most likely caused by constant long-term stress. The sudden outburst while tutoring her son was just the final nail in the coffin, but this is a scenario that is becoming worryingly frequent in Chinese society.

In 2019, when we first wrote about a 36-year-old mother who got so worked up because her son couldn’t solve a math problem that she suffered a heart attack, such a case was virtually unheard of. But, the following year, we wrote another similar story about a 45-year-old Chinese man who reportedly suffered a heart attack after getting angry while helping his son with homework. Since then, stories of parents suffering strokes and heart attacks while helping their kids with homework have become common.

A similar story was reported last month. On January 13, a 37-year-old woman from Lianyungang, China’s Jiangsu Province, was tutoring her 4th-grade son in math when she became upset that the boy appeared confused after she had explained a problem to him countless times. The woman suppressed her boiling anger, but it only made her already high blood pressure go even higher, and at one point she felt a mild pain in her chest and started having trouble breathing.

The mother decided to lie down and called her 6th-grade son to help his brother with math while she rested on the couch, but after seeing that the younger boy still didn’t understand, she got angry again and tried getting up to “re-enter the fray”. At that point, she felt a sharp pain in her chest and fell down. She started sweating profusely and had trouble breathing and moving. Her sons called to their father for help, and he phoned an ambulance.

After being rushed to the Lianyungang No. 1 People’s Hospital, the woman was diagnosed with a type A aortic dissection and scheduled for emergency surgery. Doctors found a puncture of about 2cm in the posterior wall of the aorta, as well as a high number of thrombi. After about 7 hours, doctors managed to fix the tear and the woman’s condition became stable.

Health experts explained that women are more prone to suffer this kind of health problems because they are in a constant state of stress and anxiety with work, house chores, and peer pressure, so children’s homework just adds to the list of stressors.

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