Heart disease has occupied the second spot in the nation’s leading causes of death for six consecutive years, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, on the 14th World Heart Day yesterday.
The disease was the cause of 17,121 deaths last year alone, or an average of 47 deaths every day.
The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) warned that heart disease is second only to cancer in terms of deadly threats to people’s health.
The administration conducted a survey on 5,895 people with hypertension, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, or the “three highs,” in 2007 and found that they are 1.9, 1.5 and 1.8 times respectively more likely to develop heart disease than those without the disorders.
The survey also found that people with a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 24 are 1.4 times more likely within five years to develop heart diseases than those with a BMI less than 24.
HPA Deputy Director-General Yu Li-hui (游麗惠) said that Taiwan’s death rate due to heart disease has declined, whereas many other countries have achieved a decrease in heart disease deaths.
“We didn’t see a decrease in the incidence of the ‘three highs’ and obesity in 2007’s survey, so since then we’ve started a nationwide weight loss program and worked on preventing the three highs, in the hope of seeing a drop in all figures in next year’s statistics,” Yu said.
Yu added that the country is also now seeing younger patients suffering from heart diseases.
Citing the World Heart Federation, the HPA said every age group is susceptible to heart disease and living habits from childhood have certain impacts on the incidence of heart disease.
“Being overweight and smoking can lead to early incidence [of the disease], even among teenagers or those in their 20s,” Taiwan Society of Cardiology president Lin Shing-jong (林幸榮) said.