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Adult Heart Conditions

  • What is Coronary Artery Disease?

    Coronary artery disease is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. It was the most common cause of death globally in 2014, according to the World Health Organisation, and accounted for 16% of all deaths in Singapore that year.

    Coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. When atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries) occurs, there is a stiffening of the coronary artery and the formation of plaque that is made of calcium and fatty deposits. As the size of the plaque grows, it begins to block blood flow to the heart. When blood flow to the heart is restricted, ischaemia (a lack of oxygen to the cells) occurs. The cells of the heart may start to die due to the lack of oxygen, resulting in a heart attack (myocardial infarction), which leads to heart muscle damage and heart muscle death. Find out how coronary artery disease can be treated safely and effectively.

    There are several factors that cause coronary artery disease. People with the risk factors below tend to have a higher chance of having coronary artery disease:

    • Smokers: Around 1/3 of cases are linked with smoking
    • Obesity: Obesity accounts for around 20% of cases
    • Lack of exercise
    • Age: Men and women over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease
    • Family history of coronary artery disease: A genetic disposition can make it more likely for atherosclerosis to occur
    • Stress
    • Diabetes

  • What is Heart Arrhythmia?

    Heart arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat, is a group of heart conditions where the heartbeat is irregular, faster or slower than normal. According to an article published in the Journal of Electrocardiology, arrhythmia-associated deaths account for almost half of all deaths caused by cardiovascular conditions.

    Every heartbeat begins as an electrical signal from the sinus node, an area of tissue from the right side of the heart. The signal travels through the heart, making the heart muscle contract in a pattern. When there is arrhythmia, the signal becomes disrupted, resulting in the heart beating too quickly, too slowly or in an irregular manner.

    When the heart beats too quickly or too slowly, it does not beat efficiently, resulting in poorer blood flow to the body. Certain arrhythmias do not have symptoms, but many types of arrhythmia can cause coronary artery disease as the weaker blood flow in the artery can make it easier for calcium and fat deposits to build up. In certain acute attacks of arrhythmia, it can result in a total breakdown of the heart beating and a cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating and can cause death if not treated immediately. Find out how heart arrhythmia can be treated safely and effectively.

    There are several factors that can cause heart arrhythmia. People with the below risk factors tend to have a higher chance of having heart arrhythmia:

    arrhythmia
    • Coronary artery disease, other heart problem and previous heart surgery. Diseases that slow the smooth blood flow in the heart, and any form of damage to the heart, can disrupt the heartbeat signal and cause arrhythmia.
    • High blood pressure
    • Congenital heart disease. Being born with a heart abnormality that affect the heart’s rhythm
    • Thyroid problems
    • Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine use
    • Certain drugs, prescribed or illegal, can affect the heart rhythm
    • Diabetes
    • Sleep apnoea

  • What is Heart Failure?

    Heart failure is a condition where the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently. It is most commonly caused by coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, but can also be caused by congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia, and faulty heart valves.

    heart failure

    Heart failure can affect one or both sides of the heart. One of the common types of heart failure is known as congestive heart failure, where there is back flow and a build up of blood in the liver, abdomen, lungs and other organs and limbs.

    People who are at risk of having coronary artery disease and heart arrhythmia are also at risk of having heart failure, as heart failure can be caused by the above conditions. It is possible for people to suffer from heart failure caused by the 2 conditions without experiencing symptoms. Find out how heart failure can be treated safely and effectively.

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