Cardiovascular disease which includes both heart attack and stroke is the second leading cause of death in Singapore, after cancer. Approximately 2000 people in Singapore suffer a heart attack every year. Furthermore, due to the earlier adoption of unhealthy lifestyle habits, heart disease is occurring at a younger age. Nowadays, it is not unusual to see patients as young as 40 present with heart disease. Similarly, we are beginning to see more women with heart disease nowadays. This is largely due to the increased prevalence of smoking and diabetes among women. In the US, heart disease kills 6 times as many women as breast cancer
As with all things in life, prevention is always better than cure. Cardiovascular screening may help identify high risk individuals who may benefit from aggressive preventative strategies. Nowadays, we have at our disposal highly sensitive diagnostic tools such as carotid ultrasound, coronary calcium scanning and CT coronary angiogram (coronary CTA) which allow us to identify early cholesterol deposits in the arteries of the brain and heart.
Individuals who may benefit from cardiovascular screening include :
- Men (>/= age 40) and women (>/= age 50) with at least one of the following risk factors –
– High blood pressure.
– High cholesterol.
– Family history of heart disease.
- Individuals who want to participate in strenuous sports (e.g triathlon, marathon, etc.).