The prevalence of heart disease

Coronary disease is the most common type of heart disease and can lead to a heart attack. This disease is the leading cause of deaths in the world and Thailand is no exception. Each year, millions of people around the world lose their lives to this disease. Heart disease can be classified into many kinds of cardiovascular conditions such as:

  • coronary artery disease or CAD
  • heart defects which are congenital
  • heart muscle disorders such as cardiomyopathy
  • heart rhythm disorders such as arrhythmia
  • heart infection and inflammation such as myocarditis, pericarditis, and endocarditis.

What can cause heart disease?

Cardiovascular diseases can come with age. Older males are more likely to suffer from heart disease than older women. But they also are the result of unhealthy habits and lifestyles.

The disease can be caused by various factors. The major one in Thailand being tobacco. Despite eating fruits and vegetables, the Thai population has a very high number of smokers. The risk factors of heart disease include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, lack of exercise and stress.

The symptoms of heart disease

There are no exact symptoms of heart disease because they differ depending on the actual condition and the person. However, the most common symptoms observed is a tightening or discomfort of the chest, which may be indicative of a heart attack. A person having a heart attack may observe the symptoms below:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort or pain in the shoulders or arms
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Discomfort or pain in the back, neck, or jaw areas
  • Chest discomfort, tightness, or pain that doesn’t disappear after a few minutes

If you have any reason to believe that you or a person you know is having a heart attack, call 911 as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of heart disease

There are a few non-invasive ways to diagnose a heart condition before it‘s too late. They include an exercise stress test, electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG), coronary angiogram and chest X-rays.

The exercise stress test is usually the most recommended and trusted test because of its 95% accuracy. But the most accurate test the angiogram which is an invasive procedure. A catheter is inserted through an artery to diagnose and locate the blockage if there is one.

Prevention of heart disease

As mentioned earlier, some individuals are more at risk of developing heart disease, mainly due to their lifestyle. Thus, in order to prevent heart disease, it is ideal that you get treated for, or try to prevent, other relevant medical conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

Avoid smoking and eat a healthy and balanced diet and try to avoid food high in cholesterol and saturated fats like chicken skin, pork fat. Try to exercise regularly if you don‘t like exercising start by walking for short distances instead of taking your car or transportation, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Treatment of heart disease

If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, you may decrease your risk for more serious complications by implementing the changes in lifestyle enumerated above. In addition, your heart doctor may also prescribe some medicine for you to take intended to treat the disease or at least manage its symptoms.

Consult with your trusted doctor about the best ways to treat heart disease based on your unique needs, situation, and lifestyle, and how to best decrease your risk for complications.

To read more about related topics, click on the link below.

Atherosclerosis – prevention and treatment

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