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Department of Health

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Secure your “heart’s” health on “cold” days

As a precaution for extreme temperature, patients with cardiovascular disease are advised to maintain individual health management as a preventive measure, including regular monitoring of blood pressure, controlled fat and salt intake, abstaining from tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, weight management, and regular, adequate exercise. Monitoring of waist circumference is suggested. Keeping warm for the elderly or patients with cardiovascular disease is vital, especially between 5~6 a.m. and 8~9 p.m., as an apparent temperature drop is frequent at these times and can induce a vascular contraction, increased blood pressure, and even the acute onset of heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Hung-Yi Yeh, the chairman of the Taiwan Society of Lipids and Atherosclerosis, advised individuals with hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and hypertension to take medication as scheduled, to avoid foods with excessive salt and fat, to keep warm during outdoor activities, and avoid exposure of the arms and legs to the atmosphere. Dr. Chun-Li Lin, Chief Executive Officer of the Taiwan Heart Foundation, advised the monitoring of temperature gradients when going out, keeping warm at all times, and carrying out regular exercise. He also noted that outdoor activities should be avoided during cold snaps, warm-ups are required before exercise, and immediate medical attention should be sought if dull chest pains and a cold sweat—possible indicators of cardiovascular issues—are experienced during exercise. Also, sauce rich in salt should be avoided when enjoying hot pots in winter. Dr. Lin's last advice to patients with hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and hypertension and cardiovascular disease is that they should take medication as prescribed, take routine blood pressure measurements, avoid staying up late at night, and acquire at least 6 hours of sleep.