Tue, Oct 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Many heart illness deaths preventable, deputy mayor says

By Wang Chun-chung and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Many deaths related to heart illnesses are preventable by making lifestyle changes and using medication correctly, Tainan Deputy Mayor Yen Chun-tso (顏純左), a medical doctor, said on Facebook on Sunday.

The advice came after 72-year-old Hoklo singer Kuo Chin-fa (郭金發), who collapsed on stage during a concert on Saturday, died after he suffered cardiorespiratory failure, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office said on Sunday.

Yen said people with heart problems should be particularly cautious as winter approaches, adding that people taking medication should talk to their doctor about the most effective methods for taking their medications.

Yen said that because the temperature varies throughout the day more dramatically in winter, the chances of heart problems increase.

Several years ago Yen began giving out health-reminder cards after seeing what he considered to be preventable cardiovascular-related deaths.

On the cards Yen lists 10 common causes of cardiovascular illness and provides advice on how to take nitroglycerin tablets, which are commonly prescribed to people with heart disease.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused when the heart does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. It has 10 common causes: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, aging (over 45 for men, 55 for women), hereditary conditions, lack of physical exercise, emotional or work-related stress and poor work-life balance, Yen said.

Angina manifests in the form of pain and tightness in the chest, even spreading sometimes to the left arm, shoulder blades and teeth, Yen said, adding that sweating and dizziness often follow.

Yen said that when people diagnosed with angina become symptomatic they must immediately take their medication and call 119 for emergency assistance.

“If the symptoms do not dissipate within five minutes of taking a nitroglycerin tablet, the person should take a second one, and again a third one if the symptoms persist in another five minutes,” Yen said, adding that people diagnosed with angina should keep their medication close-by at all times.

“Once the packaging [for nitroglycerin tablets] is opened the lid must be kept on tightly whenever not in use in order to prevent moisture from damaging the pills,” Yen said.

“And people need to be sure that the medication has not expired before taking it,” he added.

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