A WINTER WORRY
The year of 2005 has seen a rise in people coming down with cardiovascular and cardio-cerebral illness. As the temperature drops in December, people with heart problems should take even more care of themselves and be on guard for relapses.
Wang Yong, professor at the National Integrative Medicine Centre for Cardiovascular Disease (NIMCCD), China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said there have been many more cases of coronary illness recently as the temperature plummets, including two fatalities.
"In the winter, coronary problems occur more often than usual," revealed the doctor. "That is because the tension on the sympathetic nerve increases causing the body to secrete a lot of active elements in blood vessels that make the blood condition unstable."
Low temperatures not only increase the load of blood circulation therefore burdening the heart, but also heighten blood pressure. People also tend to eat more and exercise less in the season, which increases blood density and fat levels.
There have been many younger people, in their 30s and 40s, exhibiting coronary problems in recent years, said the professor.
"There are a number of reasons, including stress at work, a high intake of fat and decreased physical exercise.
"Another reason is that many people think they are too young to get heart problems and therefore are not aware of the dangers," he revealed.
There are signs indicating heart disease, the most obvious being pains in the chest lasting several minutes. But not everybody has such typical symptoms.
"More than 20 per cent of people with heart problems have untypical pains above the navel and below the ears," said the doctor. "Some have no symptoms at all."
Wang suggests that people with heart problems take preventative medicines and see a doctor as soon as there are signs of relapse.
Another group of people who also need to watch out for heart problems are those in high-risk groups such as people with high blood pressure, high blood fat, diabetes, smokers, and people with a family history of cardio-illness.
Health tip of the week:
Beijing has not seen precipitation for the past two weeks, with the temperature rising and the air becoming increasingly dry. This makes it easier to contract respiratory illness.
Wang Yong suggests that people drink more water at home, eat more vegetables, open windows for ventilation and use humidifiers.
(China Daily 12/30/2005 page8)
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