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Adult Heart Conditions

  • What is Coronary Artery Disease?

    Coronary artery disease refers to a group of cardiovascular diseases of which it is the most common type. These diseases are the most common cause of death globally in 2014 according to the World Health Organisation, and in Singapore, they account for 16% of all deaths in that year.

    Coronary arteries are arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. When atherosclerosis occurs, there is a stiffening of the coronary artery and the formation of plaque that comprises of calcium and fatty deposits. As the size of the plaque grows, it begins to obstruct blood flow to the heart. When there is a limitation of blood flow to the heart, ischaemia (a lack of oxygen to the heart cells) occurs. The cells of the heart may start to die due to 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.

    Coronary artery disease can be caused by a number of factors. People with the below risk factors tend to have a higher chance of having coronary artery disease:

    • Smokers. Around 1/3 of coronary artery disease cases are associated 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
    • Work stress
    • Diabetes

  • What is Heart Arrhythmia?

    Heart arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat, is the name of 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 close to 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 rhythmically. When there is arrhythmia, the signal becomes disrupted, resulting in the heart beating too quickly, too slowly or in an erratic manner.

    When the heart beats too quickly or too slowly, it does not beat efficiently and results 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 untreated immediately. Find out how heart arrhythmia can be treated safely and effectively.

    Heart arrhythmia can be caused by a number of factors. People with the below risk factors tend to have a higher chance of having heart arrhythmia:

    • Coronary artery disease, other heart problem and previous heart surgery. Diseases that impede 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 can affect your 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 pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently. It is most commonly caused by coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, but it can also be caused by congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia, and malfunctioning 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 congestion 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 two conditions without experiencing symptoms. Find out how heart failure can be treated safely and effectively.

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