Sign of high cholesterol

Lumps of benign fatty tissue under the skin, or lipoma, could be a sign of high cholesterol, a doctor said on Saturday.

Young people with a family history of heart conditions should watch out for changes in their body, said Chen Wei-cheng (陳韋成), cardiovascular disease internist at Lotung Poh-Ai Hospital in Yilan County’s Luodong Township (羅東).

The hospital treated a 21-year-old man, surnamed Lin (林), who suffered a myocardial infraction, Chen said.

Lin, a coast guard volunteer, started smoking at 16 and has been smoking one-and-half pack of cigarettes since he joined the Coast Guard Administration, Chen said, adding that Lin also drank, ate deep-fried foods and kept late hours.

While walking to the barracks from a guard post, Lin suddenly had a chest pain and difficulty breathing, and nearly collapsed. His colleagues took him to the hospital’s emergency room, Chen said.

Lin said he knows that his family has a history of heart conditions, adding that his grandmother died of heart attack and his uncle had a bypass surgery, but he did not expect having heart problems at his age.

After electrocardiography confirmed an initial diagnosis of acute myocardial infraction, the doctors determined that two of Lin’s three coronaries were constricted and the remaining one was completely blocked, Chen said.

The doctors performed emergency balloon valvuloplasty and placed stents, saving Lin’s life, Chen said, adding that Lin is still recovering and receives regular checkups.

Examinations revealed that Lin had high levels of low-density lipoprotein in his blood, which exacerbated atherosclerosis progression and triggered the heart attack, he said.

Several thumb-sized lumps on Lin’s elbows were an unheeded warning sign, Chen said

While heart attacks are more prevalent in autumn and winter, dehydration and shifting temperature between outdoor and indoor environments might also trigger heart attacks in summer, he said.

The environmental factors could induce blood vessels to contract or expand rapidly and peel off the plaques on the blood vessel walls, resulting in infractions, he said.

People should keep their blood pressure, sugar and lipid levels at healthy levels, drink plenty of water and avoid quick changes in temperature to minimize the risk of a heart attack, he said.

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