Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cold spell increases likelihood of stroke, ER director says

By Chen Feng-li and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The public should act quickly on symptoms of heart disease, such as tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, weakness in the left limbs or dizziness, a Nantou County-based (南投) doctor said, adding that the cold weather increases the risk of stroke.

Emergency room (ER) director Wang Ssu-hung (王斯弘), from Yumin Hospital in the county’s Caotun Township (草屯), said he performed emergency surgery on a 58-year-old crane operator who collapsed after having a stroke.

The man was found on the ground next to his crane underneath the Shuei Sha Lian Highway, which runs through the township, Wang said.

Police arriving on the scene believed the man might have been intoxicated, but called an ambulance when they noticed that he did not smell of alcohol, Wang said, adding that doctors removed a blood clot and the patient is still recovering in hospital.

The cold weather has an effect on the cardiovascular system, including arteries in the brain, Wang said.

People who whose arteries have hardened or who suffer from chronic illnesses including hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and hypertension are particularly at risk of heart attack or stroke during the cold winter months, Wang said.

The age at which incidences occur has been decreasing, Wang said, adding that whereas the average age used to be between 50 and 60, more people in their 40s have been having heart attacks in the past few years.

Those who suffer from chronic conditions should pay close attention to symptoms when the weather gets cold, regardless of age, Wang said.

“When the weather gets cold, you have to stay warm at work,” he said, adding that it is better to stay indoors late at night and in the early morning when the temperature is the lowest.

“If you experience any characteristic symptoms of an impending heart attack, seek medical help immediately,” Wang said. “The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of being treated in time.”

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