National News - November 12, 2007
Irawaty Wardany, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Big city excitement, if part of an unhealthy lifestyle, increases risk of serious illnesses, including coronary heart disease, a cardiologist said.
"The lifestyle of people in big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung means they no longer have time to pay attention to their health," Sari S. Mumpuni, a cardiologist from the Jakarta Heart and Vascular Center at Mitra Keluarga Hospital, told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on Saturday.
The rush hour traffic that people in the big city face as soon as they wake every morning caused stress, she said.
"When they arrive at work, they prefer to use elevators to reach their office. And at the office all they do is sit at a desk facing a computer until the workday ends."
"Such a lifestyle becomes even worse because of a preference for junk food lunches, eaten because people don't want to waste time," Sari said.
"All of those aspects are classified as modified risk factors for coronary heart disease."
Coronary heart disease occurs when fatty material and a substance, known as plaque, builds up on the walls of arteries, causing them to narrow. This can slow or even stop blood flow to the heart.
Sari said that symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath often occurred, especially when patients were in the middle of activities like walking or stepping on a ladder.
"At that time the patients will feel cramps in the left side of the chest which usually spread to the back, the neck and the upper left arm."
She said these were general symptoms that often occur and would last around five to 10 minutes.
"But most people are ignorant of these symptoms.
"So, even though medical research and technology on coronary heart disease has advanced, it doesn't help much to reduce the number of patients because of the lack of awareness of symptoms and preventive measures."
She added that other risk factors that couldn't be modified were age, sex and family history.
"Men in their 40s have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than women. But if your father or mother has a record of heart attack, especially if they have it before 50, then you should accept that you are also classified as part of the high-risk group," Sari said.
She added that it did not surprise her that coronary heart disease was listed as the number one killer in the country.
Unfortunately there is no accurate study on the number of people who suffer from coronary heart disease in Indonesia. However, rough estimates see an annual increase that may be as much as 50-percent.
Sari said in the United States alone there were around five million peopled who suffered from the disease.