Heart attack rates in men on the rise

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 5

The latest statistics from the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) showed that the rate of heart attacks in Taiwanese men in their 40s has increased by nearly 30 percent in five years, and eating too much greasy food is one of the main causes.

Heart disease killed 19,400 people in Taiwan last year, with an average of about one death every 27 minutes, and is currently the nation’s second leading cause of death, HPA data showed.

Heart attacks account for the majority of deaths caused by heart disease, HPA Aging and Chronic Disease Control Division interim director Lin Li-ju (林莉茹) said.

Lin said that while annual occurrence rates in Taiwan dropped slightly between 2009 and 2013, the incidence rate in men has increased to more than 2.8 times of that in women.

The most dramatic increase was in people aged between 40 and 49 — with the rate in men increasing from 76.4 persons to 99.2 persons per 100,000 people (nearly a 30 percent increase) and an increase from 10.8 persons to 12.3 persons per 100,000 people (a 13.9 percent increase) in women, Lin said.

National Taiwan University Hospital cardiologist and Taiwan Hypertension Society secretary-general Wang Tsung-tao (王宗道) said “regularly eating out” is one of the principal risk factors for heart attacks in middle-aged adults.

He said major risk factors for heart attack are having the “three highs” — high levels of blood pressure, blood sugar or blood lipid — as well as high cholesterol, and these can be controlled by reducing the amount of deep fried, greasy or high-calorie foods eaten.

Wang suggested that people over the age of 40 who have had early warning signs of a heart condition — such as pain in the chest, left of the back, from chin to stomach and nausea and vomiting — to take a blood test every year; and for people with high cholesterol levels to control their diet and exercise.

The HPA said seven actions can help prevent heart disease: refrain from smoking, exercise more, eat a low-sodium diet, use “good” oil, eat more fruit and vegetables, control the levels of the “three highs,” and go for regular health examinations.