Staying heart healthy

According to data from the Ministry of Health, 16 people die daily from heart related diseases in Singapore. In 2015, heart disease accounted for 29.6 percent of all deaths. This means that nearly one out of three deaths in Singapore is due to heart disease or stroke. Heart health is an important part of your overall wellbeing – arm yourself with information about the causes and risk factors of heart disease so you can stay heart healthy.

What causes heart disease?
Common causes are coronary artery disease, hypertension and atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). These conditions, if undiagnosed or not treated, can lead to heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, kidney or heart failure, stroke and dementia.

What are other health issues associated with heart disease?
The risk factors for heart disease are common in our community. They include diabetes, high cholesterol, high uric acid (which can lead to gout) and obesity. These conditions are usually due to physical inactivity, excessive stress, inadequate hours of good quality sleep, poor food choices and smoking.

How can I prevent heart disease?
Most risk factors for heart disease are preventable. The key to this is adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are our top tips:

Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Reduce your stress levels. Eat a balanced diet – more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and consume less salt, simple sugars, fats and oils. Cook your food healthily, with more steaming and less deep frying. You should drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid daily – choose water over sugary drinks, and drink coffee or tea without sugar. Avoid smoking.

Get active. Start by standing and walking more, and gradually progress to a healthy exercise regime. See a doctor for a health check if you are starting an exercise programme, especially if you have symptoms like shortness of breath on exertion or have any existing medical conditions.

Schedule for a heart check-up, even if you have no symptoms. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease. If you already have heart disease or are at risk, control it by modifying your lifestyle. Visit your doctor regularly for checks, and take your medications as prescribed. See your healthcare professionals as partners in your journey to good health!