Heart Disease

Heart DiseaseCardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Cardiovascular disease includes any disease that affects the heart and any blood vessel. The most prevalent of these is coronary heart disease (heart attack) and stroke. Nearly 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore, is due to heart diseases or stroke.

Coronary Heart Disease and Angina

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. It is caused by narrowed blood vessels that supply the heart. This results in reduced blood flow and thus reduced oxygen supply to the heart muscle.

Such narrowing of the coronary arteries is typically caused by atherosclerosis (fatty deposits along the blood vessel). Other causes include spasms in the coronary vessels, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, adverse physical reactions to mental stress, and heavy smoking.The key symptom of coronary heart disease is angina, a squeezing chest pain which may spread to the neck, jaw, abdomen, and upper left part of the body. The pain is due to the heart is not receiving sufficient blood and oxygen. Angina may present itself in a number of different ways. Patients with “silent” angina tend to experience no physical discomfort or pain.

Heart Attack

When the blood vessel supplying the heart completely blocks, it can lead to a heart attack, or myocardial infarction. Part of the heart muscle dies in the process due to oxygen deprivation, giving rise to the crushing chest pain characteristic of a heart attack.

Some of the other physical symptoms which a heart attack victim may complain of are:

    • A choking sensation

    • Heart burn/indigestion

    • Nausea

    • Shortness of breath

    • Sweating

    • Palpitations

    • Giddiness

The timing of treatment is critical for heart attack victims because their chances of survival decrease rapidly with every passing minute. When the heart stops beating, brain damage sets in after 3 minutes, and death is virtually certain if no resuscitation is given to the victim within the first 10 minutes.

CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) is an useful in maintaining cardiac flow - oxygen to the brain.

Risk factors for Heart disease:

There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease . Some risk factors, such as family history, cannot be modified, while other risk factors, like high blood pressure, can be modified with treatment. You will not necessarily develop cardiovascular disease if you have a risk factor. But the more risk factors you have the greater the likelihood that you will, unless you take action to modify your risk factors and work to prevent them

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

    • High levels of LDL/“bad” cholesterol

    • Diabetes mellitus

    • Smoking, including passive smoking

    • Excessive alcohol consumption

    • Family History ( parent or sibling with illness especially if under the age of 50 years)

    • Obesity and physical inactivity

Speak to your doctor to check your risk . We have health screening packages which can be customised to suit various needs.