Prepared by Dr Ang Chin Yong
Consultant Interventional Cardiologist
Gleneagles Medini Hospital
1. Is heart disease only passed down through families?
There are some heart diseases like certain cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias, which can be passed down through genes or families. However, most heart diseases are not acquired solely via genetic inheritance. Coronary heart disease, being the most common cardiac disorder, has many predisposing risk factors, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, tobacco smoking, along with family history and unhealthy lifestyle (sedentary, mental stress, obesity,etc)
2. Is heart disease a worry for women?
Yes, although heart disease may often be thought of as a problem for men, heart disease is the most common cause of death for both women and men. One challenge is that some heart disease symptoms in women may be different from those in men. Hence, heart diseases in women are more often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Fortunately, women can take steps to understand their unique symptoms of heart disease and to begin to reduce their risk of heart disease.
3. Can we lower the level of LDL cholesterol via our diet?
Making a few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol. However, sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Indeed, the LDL cholesterol are not only acquired from dietary source, but also produced by the liver. Don't be disappointed if you don't see results immediately. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue your lifestyle changes, which can help you keep your medication dose low.
4. Can good cholesterol offset bad cholesterol?
No, HDL does not necessarily “cancel out” LDL. Clinical trials show us that when the HDL is low, raising it with medicine does not reduce your risk of heart disease. So we focus on driving the LDL as low as we need to, depending on your risk. That way, we prevent further plaque build-up and reduce your risk of heart disease.
5. Is fat bad for the heart?
Generally yes, as most fatty food contains saturated- and tans-fats that raise the level of LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood, which in turn increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, food that contains mostly unsaturated or monounsaturated fat improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.