Do cardiovascular disease screening early to avoid permanent complications - KPJ specialist

01 Oct 2023 10:13pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. – BERNAMA
Image for illustrative purposes only. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - Cardiovascular disease screening tests should be done as early as in your 30s, seeing that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are among the causes of the (cardiovascular) disease, is increasingly prevalent in younger people.

KPJ Pasir Gudang Specialist Hospital consultant physician and cardiologist Dr Shahidi Jamaludin said if these diseases are not detected and treated early then there will be complications to various internal organs.

He said this could start with the formation of cholesterol plaque in the artery walls (atherosclerosis), as well as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, enlarged heart, and finally could lead to end-stage heart failure and death.

"In Malaysia, according to the Statistics on Causes of Death in Malaysia report 2021, heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the country, recording 18,556 deaths or 17.0 per cent from the total number of confirmed deaths in 2020.

"What is worrying is that many people in our community are not aware they are suffering from non-communicable diseases until they have organ-related complications (heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and nerves)," he said in a statement today.

According to him, heart failure which is a complication of the heart due to cardiovascular problems

will be permanent and difficult to treat thus adding burden to the high costs of treatment in the country's medical institutions.

"Detecting non-communicable diseases can help to lead to early treatment and avoiding permanent organ complications," he said.

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Among the screening tests that need to be carried out are Body Mass Index (BMI) check, blood pressure test, blood and urine tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) test, exercise stress test, echocardiogram scan, and CT scans (coronary computed tomography and angiography).

"Many studies have proven that early detection and treatment of risk factors can prevent and stop the development of cardiovascular disease," he said.

"Cardiovascular disease is closely linked to risk factors that require early detection and treatment to avoid permanent complications to the heart and other internal organs... Together we take care of the health of the heart for a more secure future."

Apart from this, Dr Shahidi also advises people to practice a healthy lifestyle which is the main key to preventing cardiovascular disease.

"One should have a healthy and balanced diet, lots of foods rich in Omega-3 and soluble fibre. Engage in physical exercise five times a week, with 30-minute sessions each, and choose physical activities according to your ability. Aerobics is the best choice for the health of your heart.

"Deal with stress wisely. Stop smoking and maintain an ideal body weight by trying to reach the BMI target of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2," he said.

He also said that those who already have a non-communicable disease, should follow the doctor's advice, take the recommended medication, and keep doctor's appointments to avoid complications from chronic diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

"Do not be easily fooled by health products and advice from those not qualified to give you advice on your health, especially through social media.

"Everyone's health level differs from the other. Make sure you seek advice about your health problems from qualified doctors," he added. - BERNAMA