Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 2 News List

High-tech workers at 'higher risk'

CARDIOVASCULAR CRISIS?The survey showed that high-tech workers were 50 percent more likely to develop a health problem, such as coronary artery disease, within 10 years

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Those working in high-tech industries are 50 percent more prone to developing cardiovascular diseases within 10 years than the general population, the results of a recent survey have shown.

The research was conducted by the Taiwan Society of Lipids and Atherosclerosis, which surveyed about 1,000 people who work in the nation’s science parks.

The study showed that the proportion of high-tech workers who had hyperlipidemia, or a high level of lipids in the blood, was three times higher than the general population, society secretary-general Ho Yi-lwun (何奕倫) said.

Of those surveyed who were more than 40 years old, 30 percent had abnormal levels of lipids in their blood, 53 percent were overweight and 24 percent were classed as obese, Ho said.

“[High-tech workers] have low levels of good cholesterol and high levels of bad cholesterol,” he said.

“Good cholesterol” refers to high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), while “bad cholesterol” means low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). HDL is good for the body because it acts as the “cleaning maid of the arteries” by increasing blood flow, while high levels of LDL can lead to cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, Ho said.

Recently, the medical world has begun to place more importance on the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to HDL and ideally it should be less than five to one, said Chien Kuo-liong (簡國龍), the attending physician at National Taiwan University Hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine.

However, the survey showed that more than 60 percent of male high-tech workers aged between 40 and 49 had TC-HDL ratios of more than five to one — meaning that they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and may not even be aware of it, Chien said.

“People who work in high-tech industries are under a lot of stress, work long hours, get little exercise and have less time to watch what they eat,” Ho said.

The doctors urged those who are under a lot of stress at work, such as those who work in the high-tech industry, to find time to exercise, avoid eating fried foods and to quit alcohol and cigarettes.

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