By Gynna Gagelonia

Take on the viral Ice Bucket Challenge as long as you are not suffering from a pre-existing disease like hypertension or high blood pressure (BP), peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or ischemia, especially coronary artery disease, according to the Philippine Heart Association (PHA). Led by Dr. Joel Abanilla (president 2014-2015), the PHA is an organization of 1,500 cardiovascular specialists and lay members that ensure accessible, affordable and quality cardiovascular education and care for everyone.

Before trying and passing on the challenge, make sure you and your nominee have been cleared by a heart doctor. PHA stressed that pouring ice water with a temperature of near zero on your head can induce a vasovagal response, or a sudden drop of heart rate, that also triggers constriction of the arteries and transient BP rise; obstruction of blood flow that may lead to a heart attack; muscle cramps; and sudden occlusion of blood flow in the lower extremities that may result in gangrene. Contrary to what had been reported that dumping ice water on your head may result in hypotension (sudden decrease in BP), it is the other way around: it will induce high BP.

The rules of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge are: those who have been mentioned or tagged by participants have two options: either record a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice-cold water onto your head; or donate $100 to an ALS charity of your choice.

The ALS challenge-for-a-cause contagion that has gone viral on social media did result in massive support for ALS charities. According to the New York Times, the association has received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 to August 21, 2014. The ALS Bucket Challenge is a fundraiser for the benefit of the ALS Association programs. ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease is a debilitating nerve disease with no known cure yet. Therefore people are urged to contribute to the ALS Association research to find a cure.

People who turned down the challenge have their own reasons. Among them are "despite its phenomenal popularity and support it has been getting thru social media, it is more about attention-grabbing than philanthropy; and even with its purest intentions of supporting a research program, its rapid popularity 'cannibalized' potential donations that other charities would have received."