Stroke, Heart Attack Risk Rises in Winter 天氣轉冷.早晚溫差大 增心血管疾病風險

The risk of stroke and heart attack rises as temperatures are dropping. Doctors provide a simple three-step process for early detection.

When it's cold, people move less and drink less. With poorer circulation, blood pressure can become unstable and the risk of stroke and heart attack rises.

Chen Lung, Director, Stroke Center, Shuang Ho Hospital: “When the temperature variation is over 2 degrees, the risk of a recurrent stroke or first stroke goes up 5 percent. If you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease, your risk of a recurrent stroke is even higher. ”

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, heart disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Taiwan. Stroke is also the leading cause of adult disability. Signs of stroke include paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, the mouth drooping on one side, and trouble speaking. Getting timely treatment is critical to prevent damage from becoming permanent, with oxygen deprivation killing two million brain cells per minute.

Huang Chuan-yi, Senior Paramedic, Chong Yang EMS and Fire Station: “EMTs have a detailed system to assess stroke risk and identify signs of stroke. We then immediately notify our hospital so that they can start treating the patient as soon as we arrive. The golden period for treatment is within three hours or six hours at the most.”

Doctors say a first stroke raises the risk of a second stroke by nine times. Controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and genetic factors can decrease the risk of a second stroke by 20 to 30 percent. If you suspect someone has had a stroke, ask them to smile, raise their arms, and say "hello." If they can't perform any of these three actions, note the time and call 119 right away.