Heart And Vascular Diseases

Heart & Vascular Diseases

Learn more about heart & vascular diseases - what they are, types, risk factors, symptoms and the common heart and vascular problems in Singapore.

What is CT Calcium Score Test?

What Are Heart And Vascular Diseases?

Heart and vascular diseases refer to a class of medical conditions that affect the heart (cardiovascular) and blood vessels (vascular system). These diseases can be broadly categorised into conditions that primarily impact the heart and those that predominantly affect the blood vessels.

What is Ischemic heart disease

Learn More About Heart And Vascular Diseases

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) – is the most common type of heart disease. It occurs when the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become narrow or blocked due to the buildup of cholesterol and plaque. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
  • Heart Failure – Heart failure happens when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, causing symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and fluid retention.
  • Arrhythmias – Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms. They can manifest as a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), fast heartbeat (tachycardia), or irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).
  • Valvular Heart Diseases: Conditions where heart valves (mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary) do not function properly, leading to issues like valve stenosis or regurgitation.
  • Congenital Heart Diseases: Heart defects present at birth that affect the heart’s structure and function.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) – High blood pressure can damage blood vessels over time and increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other complications.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) – PAD is characterized by narrowed arteries in the limbs, typically the legs, which can lead to reduced blood flow, pain, and sometimes tissue damage.
  • Stroke – Stroke occurs when there’s a disruption of blood flow to the brain, often caused by a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel.
  • Aneurysms – Weakened areas in blood vessel walls that can bulge and potentially rupture, leading to life-threatening bleeding.
  • Venous Disorders – Conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, and chronic venous insufficiency that affect the veins and blood flow in the legs.

What Are The Common Heart And Vascular Diseases In Singapore?

According to Singapore Heart Foundation, 23 people die from cardiovascular disease (heart diseases and stroke) everyday. It accounted for 31.5% of all deaths in 2022, which means that almost 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore is due to heart diseases or stroke.

Death By Cardiovascular Diseases

The above table (source: Ministry of Health) shows that among the various types of cardiovascular diseases, Ischaemic heart diseases is the leading cause of death. The overall percentage of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases had dipped in 2021 but have increased in 2022 into the same percentage as year 2020.

Risk Factors For Heart And Vascular Diseases

  •  50 years old and above
  • Men are generally at a higher risk
  • Family history of heart and vascular diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Unhealthy Diet
  • Stress

Symptoms Of Heart And Vascular Diseases

Many people have no early symptoms of heart or vascular diseases. When they occur, the symptoms may vary depending on the specific condition. Some of the common symptoms of heart & vascular diseases are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort (Angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness or fainting (Syncope)
  • Nausea and Indigestion
  • Extremely fast or irregular heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
  • Leg Pain
  • Ulcers or sores on the legs or feet
  • Swelling (Edema) particularly in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Chronic cough or wheezing, especially when lying down

Screening And Diagnostic Tests For Heart And Vascular Diseases

There are several types of heart screenings and diagnostic tests that healthcare providers use to assess heart health and detect potential cardiovascular issues. The specific tests recommended may vary depending on an individual’s age, medical history, risk factors, and symptoms. Some common heart screenings and diagnostic tests are:

  • Blood Pressure Measurement: Regular blood pressure checks are a simple but essential screening tool for assessing heart health. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Cholesterol Blood Test: This test measures levels of different types of cholesterol in the blood, including LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Abnormal cholesterol levels can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): An ECG records the electrical activity of the heart. It can help diagnose irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and identify signs of previous heart attacks.
  • Echocardiogram: This ultrasound test creates images of the heart’s structure and function. It can detect problems with the heart’s valves, chambers, and muscle.
  • Exercise Stress Tests:  Used to assess how the heart performs under physical stress. During the test, the patient walks or runs on a treadmill while being monitored.
  • Cardiac CT (Computed Tomography): A cardiac CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of the heart and blood vessels. It can assess coronary artery disease (CAD) and other structural issues.
  • Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Cardiac MRI provides highly detailed images of the heart and can be used to evaluate heart structure, function, and blood flow.
  • Holter Monitor and Event Monitor: These devices are used to monitor the heart’s electrical activity over an extended period. They are often used to diagnose arrhythmias that may not show up on a standard ECG.
  • Coronary Angiography: This invasive procedure involves injecting a contrast dye into the coronary arteries to visualize blockages or narrowing. It is typically used in conjunction with other tests to diagnose CAD.
  • CT Calcium Scoring: A coronary calcium scan measures the amount of calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. It can help assess the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Blood Tests: Various blood tests may be used to assess overall heart health, including tests for inflammation markers and cardiac biomarkers.

Health Screening From Health365 Partners

Screenings are important to determine if a patient’s heart is functioning healthily as well as detect risk factors in the early stages.

Health365 in partnership with trusted medical providers in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand offers health screening packages including some tests for heart & vascular diseases such as Exercise Stress Test and CT Calcium Scoring. Discover your options now.

Consult A Cardiologist In Singapore

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