10 Important Things You Must Know About Heart Disease

10 Important Things You Must Know About Heart Disease

Heart disease involves a range of conditions that affect the heart, and is often linked to the term “cardiovascular disease”. As a whole, heart disease includes conditions that affect the blood vessel such as coronary artery disease and congenital heart defects, while cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels, leading to heart attack, chest pain or stroke.

When it comes to heart disease, prevention goes a long way in helping you beat this condition. Thus, being aware of the risk factors and leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is a good starting point to help you achieve that.

Read on for some important facts and tips about heart disease:

1. It is not only the men who get heart disease

Before menopause, the risk of heart disease is significantly higher for men compared to women. This will even out as women reach their menopausal years (typically at age 54) due to a decline in the natural hormone estrogen, which is believed to help keep blood vessels flexible to accommodate blood flow. In addition, other unhealthy lifestyle habits that one adopts before menopause (e.g. smoking and a high-fat diet) also play a role in increasing the risk factor for heart disease.

2. Heart disease may cause different symptoms in women

Generally, the main symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, nausea and sweating. However, women are more likely to experience symptoms that are out of the norm such as:

  • Unusual tiredness
  • Heartburn
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Anxiety
  • Paleness
  • A general feeling of discomfort or weakness

These symptoms may present themselves up to a month before a heart attack episode. So, if you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that they might be linked to heart disease, do seek immediate medical attention.

3. Pregnancy and childbirth can increase a woman’s chance of having a stroke

Occurrences of stroke related to pregnancy and childbirth are usually the result of an existing health issue, such as a malformation of the blood vessel or pre-eclampsia. If you have (or suspect that you have) any health conditions that is heart-related, do bring this up to your doctor before trying to conceive or immediately after finding out about your pregnancy. The risk of a pregnancy-related stroke increases six weeks after birth, so it is highly recommended that you schedule follow up postpartum visits as well.

4. 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore is caused by heart disease

In Singapore, approximately 16 people die from heart disease each day. According to the report on Registration of Births and Deaths 2016, cardiovascular disease accounted for 29.5% of all deaths in Singapore that year. To reduce your risk of heart disease and avoid being part of the statistics, refer to the next point for suggestions on lifestyle changes you can make.

5. Keeping a good balance in life can help you prevent heart disease

Although factors such as your age and family history may put you at risk of heart disease, there are various lifestyle changes you can make to keep you in the safe zone. These include keeping a good balance by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.

 

Is it true that moderate alcohol consumption can help to keep you heart-healthy? Find out more on the next page.

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