Hot weather and air conditioning contributing to spike in heart attacks 熱天進出冷氣房 心肌梗塞急症激增

Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - Page 11

In the sweltering heat, you are constantly going in and out of air-conditioned rooms, intermittently hot and cold, which can increase the risk of having a heart attack and be hazardous to your health. Chi Mei Hospital’s Chili branch in Greater Tainan recently received three patients having heart attacks, all allegedly caused by being hot and cold off and on because they kept going in and out of air-conditioned rooms, which caused the capillaries in the heart to constrict and lead to coronary muscle blockage.

The high temperatures last month broke historical records. According to statistics from the Bureau of Health Promotion, as many as 427 people sought medical attention because of heatstroke last month, which is twice as high as last year. The high temperatures are putting people’s lives in severe danger.

With the relentless heat in recent days, Chi Mei Hospital’s Chili branch had three heart attack patients in the emergency room that were thought to have been related to the weather. Kuo Ping-jang, head of the emergency department at the hospital, said that the patients, two over the age of 80 and one 40-something, came into the emergency room complaining of chest pain, difficulties breathing and looking unwell. After an electrocardiogram (EKG) confirmed that they all had acute myocardial infarctions, they were given emergency treatment along with drugs and immediately sent to the hospital’s Yongkang branch, where they underwent cardiac catheterization. All of the patients have since left the hospital.

Kuo says that heart attacks are caused by a shortage of blood supply to the heart due to coronary muscle blockage, and if you do not seek emergency treatment immediately it could do irreversible damage to the heart. The symptoms and warning signs of a heart attack include pressure or tightness in the center of the chest, nausea, paleness of pallor, anxiety, shortness of breath and a cold sweat, Kuo says.

People typically assume that the low temperatures during winter increase one’s risk of having a heart attack, but Kuo says that the risk is actually slightly higher in the summer than it is in winter. The main reason, he says, is because people usually go in and out of air-conditioned rooms when the weather is scorching hot, which can cause the capillaries in the heart to constrict improperly. If the capillaries in a person’s heart already have problems it can affect the flow of blood and cause blockage in the coronary muscle, leading to an acute myocardial infarction.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)