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June 29, 2017

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Sudden deaths climb as cold front slams nation

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The number of sudden deaths rose rapidly in the nation as the first cold front of winter made itself known in Taiwan.

Cases of sudden deaths at Taipei Mackay Memorial Hospital, for example, jumped to four times their usual level over the past week, from an average of one case every two days to one or two cases in a single day.

The head of Taipei Mackay Memorial Hospital Emergency Medicine Chang Wen-han (張文瀚) said the sudden deaths were mainly among the elderly in this past week. However, they had a case of a 36-year-old female patient who died on Tuesday apparently due to cold weather, Chang was quoted by the United Evening News as saying. Chang pointed out that as long as the temperature drops, the number of sudden deaths is likely to rise. They are commonly attributed to respiratory diseases or coronary heart diseases.

Chung Rui-yuan(鍾睿元), a physician at Cathay General Hospital Emergency Medicine, said cases of coronary heart disease are at twice their usual level, mostly due to myocardial infarction or brain apoplexy.

The head of National Taiwan University Hospital Internal Medicine Cardiology Wang Tsung-dao (王宗道) said that for people whose cardiovascular systems do not function well, a hasty breath of cold air could cause severe contraction in their veins. The patients will suffer from chest pains and chest tension, which are symptoms similar to myocardial infarction. Wang added that people who smoke cigarettes should be aware of the cold weather, as inhaling nicotine could cause severe contraction in veins and lead to chest pains or chest tension.

Clinical statistics show that people who are 65 years or older, obese, lack exercise, are under high levels of stress, have hypertension, hyperglycemia or hyperlipemia have a high risk of getting myocardial infarction. As soon as the temperature drops, people should be more cautious.

Wang suggested that people dress warmer by wearing a mask, scarf or hats to remain warm. Plus, people should do warm-up exercises before going out. Moreover, if a patient is suffering from chest tension or cannot breathe properly while lifting heavy items or climbing stairs, they should take a rest and monitor their body condition.

According to the Central Weather Bureau, another cold front is coming today. Northern Taiwan is likely to drop to 12 degrees Celsius, and cold weather has been forecast to remain until Saturday. Temperatures will be above 20 degrees across Taiwan, but will likely remain low in the mornings and evenings.

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