BETEL NUT CHEWING CAN CAUSE HEART ATTACKS, SAYS PROFESSOR

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By Alex Sefala

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 6, 1999 - The National)---Betel nut chewing may cause heart attacks according to Professor Isi Kevau in a research paper to be presented to the International Medical Conference in Wellington, New Zealand next week.

Professor Kevau said the research found that betel nut chewing adversely affects the heart in four ways.

They include: heartbeat faster than normal; heart rates that could reach levels as high as 90 to 100 beats a minute; increase or decrease in blood pressure; and blocking tiny blood vessels that carry blood to other parts of the body.

Professor Kevau was speaking during the presentation of two mobile phones to the Sir Buri Kidu Heart Foundation by Telikom Managing Director Philip Aki in Port Moresby yesterday.

He said the heart problem in PNG is growing rapidly, where at least one patient is admitted to the Foundation every week.

He said since the first victim of heart disease was admitted in 1972, the numbers have risen and it is affecting younger people, 45 years on average, compared to people 65 and over in the developed world.

He warned that people who begin to feel pains in the chest should get to the nearest hospital within four hours to get treated. Any further delay could be fatal, he added.

The Foundation received two mobile phones for Foundation doctors and Telikom will also connect the Foundation to the Internet to report cases to the Foundation office for immediate attention.

Present to receive the mobile phones were the Member for Moresby South and founder of the Foundation, Lady Carol Kidu, Kevau and other doctors from the Foundation.

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