A doctor on Tuesday cautioned the public to avoid smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and poor diet after he treated a 33-year-old engineer for a nearly fatal blood clot.
The Hsinchu resident, surnamed Chu (竹), had greater stress from work demands and frequent overtime, Ton-yen General Hospital cardiologist Pu Shih-yun (卜詩筠) said, adding that Chu also had a habit of eating minced pork rice and instant noodles, which are high in sodium.
Last week, Chu sought treatment after experiencing dizziness, vomiting and tightness in his chest, Pu said.
An examination showed that Chu had a blood clot in his left anterior descending artery, but doctors were able to clear the potentially fatal clot, Pu said, adding that postponing treatment might have led to arrhythmia or a heart attack.
Last year, heart disease was the second-greatest cause of death in Taiwan, Pu said.
Heart disease cases increased from 5,576 in 2012 to 7,607 in 2017, he said, adding that 6,802 of the cases in 2017 were men.
Causes include heredity, poor diet (diets high in fat, cholesterol and sugar), smoking, alcohol consumption, poor sleep, lack of exercise and overwork, Pu said.
Women are less likely to develop heart disease until after menopause when estrogen levels fall, he said.
Those with high cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar have a higher risk of heart disease, and the risk is worsened by high stress levels, he said.
Smokers are 2.72 times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers, while e-cigarette users are 1.79 times more likely, Pu said, citing statistics from the Health Promotion Administration.
A better work-life balance is the best way to start reducing the risk of heart disease, Pu said, adding that people should go to bed earlier and exercise during the day.
If people eat foods that are high in fat on some days during the week, they should increase the amount of fiber and non-fatty foods that they eat on other days, Pu added.
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