Cardiology

The group of diseases that can affect one or many parts of heart and/or blood vessels of the body is known as cardiovascular disease. A person who physically experiences the disease is termed as symptomatic while a person with cardiovascular disease who does not feel anything at all is considered asymptomatic. What is important here is to know that treating cardiovascular disease is easier when it is detected earlier.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:

  • coronary heart disease – a disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle;
  • cerebrovascular disease – a disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain;
  • peripheral arterial disease – a disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs;
  • rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria;
  • congenital heart disease – birth defects that affect the normal development and functioning of the heart caused by malformations of the heart structure from birth; and
  • deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

A blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain is the main cause of an acute event such as a heart attack or stroke. The build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain is the most common reason for this situation.

Blood clots or bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain can also cause a stroke.

A medical category specialising with disorders of the heart, cardiology is a field that includes diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects and other heart-related diseases. Heart specialists are physicians who specialise in this particular field of medicine.

Cause

Like any disease, the causes of cardiovascular disease are different and based on the particular type of cardiovascular disease. For example, atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) causes coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease, whereas coronary artery disease, scarring of the heart muscle, genetic problems or medications are among the causes of arrhythmias. Aging, infections, or rheumatic disease, etc. can cause valve disease.

Get to know the different causes of heart attacks based on cardiovascular disease.

Causes of coronary artery disease

The most common cause of coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis, which can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.

Causes of heart arrhythmia

Common causes of arrhythmias or conditions that can lead to arrhythmias include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Drug abuse
  • Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
  • Heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects)
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Some over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies
  • Stress
  • Valvular heart disease
Causes of congenital heart defects

A congenital heart defect usually begins as early as when a baby is still in the womb. About a month after conception, a change in the flow of blood in the heart can result in heart defects while the heart continues to develop. Heart defects may also be caused by certain medical conditions, medications and genes. As you age, a heart defect can occur due to a change in your heart's structure, meaning it can also happen to adults.

Causes of cardiomyopathy

The cause of cardiomyopathy - a thickening or enlarging of the heart muscle - may depend on the type:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy. The cause of this most common type of cardiomyopathy is often unknown. It is a condition where the left ventricle widens. Reduced blood flow to the heart (ischemic heart disease) resulting from damage after a heart attack, infections, toxins and certain drugs, including those used to treat cancer can be the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy, and it may also be inherited from a parent.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This type is usually passed down through families (inherited), and may also develop over time due to high blood pressure or aging.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy. With no known reason for its occurrence, this least common type of cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to become rigid and less elastic. There is also a possibility that diseases like connective tissue disorders or the build-up of abnormal proteins (amyloidosis) may be the cause behind it.
Causes of heart infection

A heart infection, such as endocarditis, is caused when germs reach your heart muscle. The most common causes of heart infection include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
Causes of valvular heart disease

Many things can cause diseases of your heart valves. You may be born with valvular disease, or the valves may be damaged by conditions such as:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Infections (infectious endocarditis)
  • Connective tissue disorders

Heart attack symptoms are tell-tale signs that there is something wrong with your body and they have a variety of causes. It is vital that you recognize the symptoms and know what cardiovascular diseases are. Among the symptoms you should watch out for are:

  • Chest tightness or pressure.
  • Difficulty catching your breath.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Heart palpitations (heart pounding or racing).
  • Pain or numbness in your legs or arms.
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting.

Some of the heart attack symptoms in women or elderly persons may be more subtle, but they should still be treated seriously to prevent heart disease.

The symptoms of heart disease may depend on what type of heart disease you have.

If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms, these could be warning signs of a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart disease in your blood vessels

Atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis) can damage your blood vessels and heart. The narrowed or blocked blood vessels due to plaque build-up can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Men and women may have different coronary artery disease symptoms. For men, they may experience chest pain, while women may experience symptoms like chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

When you have a heart attack, angina, stroke or heart failure, you will be diagnosed with coronary artery disease. It's important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms because regular evaluations can lead to early detection, after which you should discuss your next step with your doctor.

Heart disease symptoms caused by abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmias)

Your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Heart arrhythmia signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fluttering in your chest
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
Heart disease symptoms caused by heart defects

Congenital heart defects, i.e., serious heart defects that you're born with are usually noticed soon after birth. Among the signs and symptoms of heart defects in children include:

  • Pale grey or blue skin colour (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain

It is only later in childhood or during adulthood when less serious congenital heart defects are diagnosed, and its signs and symptoms, which usually aren't immediately life-threatening, include:

  • Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet
Heart disease symptoms caused by diseased heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)

In early stages of cardiomyopathy, you may have no symptoms, but as the condition worsens, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Breathlessness with activity or at rest
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
  • Dizziness, light headedness and fainting
Heart disease symptoms caused by heart infection

Endocarditis is an infection that affects the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium). Heart infection signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Swelling in your legs or abdomen
  • Changes in your heart rhythm
  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Skin rashes or unusual spots

Heart disease symptoms caused by heart valve problems (valvular heart disease)

There are four valves in your heart - namely the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves - that open and close to direct blood flow through your heart. Many things can damage these heart valves, which may cause narrowing (stenosis), leaking (regurgitation or insufficiency) or improper closing (prolapse).

Depending on which valve isn't working properly, valvular heart disease signs and symptoms generally include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope)

Keeping track of your heart rate can give you an insight into your fitness level, heart health and emotional health. Get to know your heart rate today.

What’s Considered a Dangerous Heart Rate?

Each individual has a different heart rate, but the question is, what is considered a normal heart rate? And when is a heart rate considered dangerous? Read on to learn more.

Fast heart rate

Tachycardia is the situation when your heart rate is too fast. The general definition of a fast heart rate for adults is over 100 beats per minute. However, your age and health also play a role in determining what is considered too fast. The cause and part of the heart it affects determines the type of classification for tachycardia and the experience may be temporary.

Tachycardia can be normal when exercising.

Some possible causes of tachycardia can include:

  • an underlying health condition
  • anxiety or stress
  • fatigue
  • heavy caffeine consumption
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • fever
  • intense or strenuous exercise or physical activity
  • side effects from medication
  • cigarette smoking
  • certain drug use (such as cocaine)
Slow heart rate

Bradycardia is a condition when your heart rate is too slow, which is typically defined as being less than 60 beats per minute. A heart rate of under 60 beats per minute is normal and even healthy for athletes and people that exercise regularly.

Some possible causes of bradycardia include:

  • side effects from medications
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • an underlying health condition
When is it dangerous?

It becomes dangerous when you have an underlying health condition like tachycardia or bradycardia and you may need medical evaluation and treatment.

Tachycardia can be caused by an underlying health condition such as:

  • anemia
  • congenital heart disease
  • heart disease that’s affecting blood flow
  • hyperthyroidism
  • injury to the heart, such as from a heart attack
Bradycardia can be caused by the following conditions:
  • congenital heart disease
  • damage to the heart (which can come from aging, heart disease, or a heart attack)
  • hypothyroidism
  • inflammatory diseases, such as lupus or rheumatic fever
  • myocarditis, an infection of the heart
If you experience a heart rate that’s too high or too low for an extended period of time, it can lead to a variety of potentially serious health complications, such as:
  • blood clots
  • heart failure
  • recurring fainting spells
  • sudden cardiac arrest
What's a normal pulse rate?

When at rest, the normal heart rate for adults can range from 60 to 100 beats per minute. When one has a more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness, the heart rate will be lower. For example, a normal resting heart rate that’s closer to 40 beats per minute is actually normal for a well-trained athlete.

If you want to measure your heart rate, you just need to check your pulse. One way is to place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. Another way is to check your pulse at your wrist by placing two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery, which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.

When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:

  • Age
  • Fitness and activity levels
  • Being a smoker
  • Having cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or diabetes
  • Air temperature
  • Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
  • Emotions
  • Body size
  • Medications

An unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem, even though the normal rate has a rather wide range.

If your resting heart rate is always above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia), or if you're not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia), and you are experiencing other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath, it’s time for you to consult your doctor.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors may be:

  • Age: Growing older increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries and a weakened or thickened heart muscle.
  • Sex: Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. The risk for women increases after menopause.
  • Family history: A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a parent developed it at an early age (before age 55 for a male relative, such as your brother or father, and 65 for a female relative, such as your mother or sister).
  • Smoking: Nicotine tightens your blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
  • Poor diet: A diet that's high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in the hardening and thickening of your arteries, narrowing the vessels through which blood flows.
  • High blood cholesterol levels: High levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease. Both conditions share similar risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Excess weight typically worsens other heart disease risk factors.
  • Physical inactivity: Lack of exercise is also associated with many forms of heart disease and some of its other risk factors as well.
  • Stress: Unrelieved stress may damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
  • Poor dental health: It's important to brush and floss your teeth and gums often, and have regular dental check-ups. If your teeth and gums aren't healthy, germs can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart, causing endocarditis.

In lowering the risk of heart disease, you should always look into managing health behaviours and risk factors, which encompass diet quality, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol or blood glucose.

When it comes to screening tests, very few individuals possess ideal risk levels. Take comfort though, just because you have less than ideal test results, this does not mean that you will definitely have a serious heart disease. When viewed with a positive mindset, this means that you’re now ready to make positive changes to your health and lifestyle.

During routine medical examinations and heart disease screening tests, which ideally should start when you are 20 years old, your body weight and blood pressure are measured and recorded. Your identified level of risk will determine the frequency of your follow-up checks.

In the event that you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, e.g. heart failure or atrial fibrillation, or if you have a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events, you will probably require additional and more frequent testing. If you already have risk factors or a family history of heart disease, there is a high likelihood that your healthcare provider may require more stringent screening.

The following are key screening tests for monitoring your heart’s health:

Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is a crucial indicator during screening as high blood pressure usually does not show any symptoms and cannot be detected unless it is measured. Your risk of heart disease and stroke greatly increases with high blood pressure. Ideally, you should start checking your blood pressure at least once a year as soon as you turn 20 and if your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. You should get your blood pressure checked more often if the results are higher. Fortunately, lifestyle changes and/or medication can help you control high blood pressure.

Fasting Lipid Profile (cholesterol)

Starting from the age of 20, you should opt to have a fasting lipid profile taken every year. Your total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol is measured with this blood test. If the results indicate that you are at an increased risk for heart disease or stroke, you should get tested more frequently. By making lifestyle changes and/or taking medication, you can control your cholesterol levels, much like your blood pressure.

Body Weight

By checking your waist circumference or using your body weight to calculate your body mass index (BMI) during your routine visit, you’ll obtain measurements that can tell you whether you’re at a healthy body weight and composition, or otherwise. Being obese puts you at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and more.

Blood Glucose

You are at greater risk of developing insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if you have high blood glucose or "blood sugar" levels. Many serious medical problems - including heart disease and stroke - can be caused by untreated diabetes.

Lifestyle

By making the following lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risk of heart disease or even prevent it:

  1. Don't smoke or use tobacco

    One of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking or switch to smokeless tobacco. Even if you're not a smoker, be sure to avoid second-hand smoke.

    Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke reduces the oxygen in your blood, which increases your blood pressure and heart rate because your heart has to work harder to supply enough oxygen to your body and brain.

    There's good news though. Your risk of heart disease starts to drop in as little as a day after quitting. After a year without cigarettes, your risk of heart disease drops to about half that of a smoker. No matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

  2. Get moving: Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily

    Regular, daily physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

    If you haven't been active for a while, you may need to slowly work your way up to these goals, but in general, you should aim for at least:

    • 150 minutes a week of moderate cardiovascular exercise (aerobic), such as walking at a brisk pace
    • 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running
    • Two or more strength training sessions a week

    Even shorter bouts of activity offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. Just five minutes of moving can help, and activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

  3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

    A healthy diet can help protect your heart, improve your blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. A heart-healthy eating plan includes:

    • Vegetables and fruits
    • Beans or other legumes
    • Lean meats and fish
    • Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods
    • Whole grains
    • Healthy fats, such as olive oil

    Two examples of heart-healthy food plans include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and the Mediterranean diet.

    Limit intake of the following:

    • Salt
    • Sugar
    • Processed carbohydrates
    • Alcohol
    • Saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy products) and trans-fat (found in fried fast food, chips, baked goods)

  4. Maintain a healthy weight

    Being overweight - especially around your middle - increases your risk of heart disease. Excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of developing heart disease - including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

    One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which uses your height and weight to determine whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight and is generally associated with higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Waist circumference also can be a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have. Your risk of heart disease is higher if your waist measurement is greater than:

    • 40 inches (101.6 centimetres, or cm) for men
    • 35 inches (88.9 cm) for women

    Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 3% to 5% can help decrease certain fats in your blood (triglycerides), lower your blood sugar (glucose) and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing even more helps lower your blood pressure and blood cholesterol level.

  5. Get good quality sleep

    A lack of sleep can do more than leave you yawning; it can harm your health. People who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.

    Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Make sleep a priority in your life. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it's easier to sleep.

    If you feel like you've been getting enough sleep but you're still tired throughout the day, ask your doctor if you need to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can increase your risk of heart disease. Signs of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, stopping breathing for short times during sleep and waking up gasping for air. Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea may include losing weight if you're overweight or using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device that keeps your airway open while you sleep.

  6. Manage stress

    Overeating, drinking or smoking are some of the unhealthy things that people do to cope with stress. If you are one of these people, then you should improve your health with alternative ways to manage stress - such as physical activity, relaxation exercises or meditation to keep your heart rate normal.

Assessment and Diagnostic Tools

Our patients have access to a wide variety of cardiovascular assessment and diagnostic tools through our cardiological specialist department. With tools such as the Electrocardiogram (ECG) and various other tests, our cardiologist doctors can determine a wide range of heart and blood vessel disorders.

Heart size and function is also determined by Echocardiograms, while ultrasounds help evaluate the blood flow to parts of the body. If narrowing of the arteries are a concern, cardiac catheterisation helps our specialists zero in and determine the problem areas. We also provide a variety of therapeutic procedures to aid the restoration of blood flow in the arteries via methods such as angioplasty (blood vessel widening), atherectomy (arterial plaque removal), and arterial stent and balloon inflation placements.

Our specialty department also includes pacemaker and defibrillator implantation to help improve heart function as well as normalise heart rhythm depending on the patient's individual needs. A full range of vascular treatments for various peripheral conditions and diseases such as blocked arteries, aneurysms and strokes can be proposed by our panel of vascular surgeons.

Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Cardiologists work together with our team of dedicated cardiothoracic surgeons and are trained to perform a wide range of procedures on the lungs, chest wall, diaphragm and heart. This specialty is exclusively for the treatment of diseases, trauma, and congenital or acquired heart and vessel deformities.
  • Certain diseases benefit greatly from such cardiothoracic procedures and include, but are not limited to, arterial blockage, valvular disorder, aneurysms and congenital heart defects such as the prolapse of mitral valves.
  • Our team is specialised and trained to the highest calibre and consists of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, intensivists and anaesthetists in order to provide every patient the top-quality care Gleneagles strives to offer.
Cardiological Services
  • Cardiac electrophysiology: the study of the heart beat and rhythm
  • Echocardiography: the study of the structure, mechanical and muscular function of the heart via ultrasound technology
  • Interventional cardiology: minimally invasive treatment of structural, coronary and vascular issues via use of small catheters, stents and mechanical devices
Caregiving team

We also have a dedicated team of compassionate and highly-trained physicians as well as nurses to help provide the most comprehensive rehabilitative care for all our patients, ensuring nothing but a successful outcome to every unique cardiological surgery.

1) What is the link between smoking and heart disease?

Smoking is a major cause of atherosclerosis - a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques, or atheroma. The nicotine in smoke causes:

  • Less oxygen to the heart
  • Higher blood pressure and heart rate
  • More blood clotting
  • Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels
2) What are the risk factors for coronary artery disease?

The following are risk factors that are non-modifiable:

  • Being male
  • Being a woman who is past menopause
  • Being older
  • Having a family history of heart attack or coronary artery disease

Fortunately, these other risk factors can be controlled:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Stress
Improve your habits and you’ll be able to reduce your risk of heart attack or angina.
3) If I have risk factors for coronary artery disease, what should I do?

Your risk factors can be reduced by making several lifestyle changes. For a start, change to a healthier diet, get some exercise, quit smoking and reduce stress to fix clogged arteries. If done well, you may be able to stop or even reverse the narrowing of your arteries. This is important for those with heart disease risk factors, and those who have had a heart attack or procedure done, as it will help restore blood flow to your heart or other areas of your body.

4) If I wish to reduce my heart disease risk, what dietary changes must I make?

A great way to reduce or even eliminate some heart disease risk factors is by eating healthy. You can help cut total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and shed some pounds with a heart-healthy diet.

Try these tips:

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Eliminate trans fats from your diet and swap saturated fats for unsaturated ones.
  • Eat lean sources of protein, e.g., chicken, fish, and soy. Avoid red meat, which can be high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates, e.g., whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta; and limit simple carbohydrates e.g., soft drinks, sugar, and sweets.
  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Exercise regularly.
5) What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy material made in the liver, and can be found in foods such as egg yolks, milk fat, organ meats, and shellfish. Eating foods that are low in saturated fats, sugar, and calories is one of the easy ways to lower high cholesterol levels.

6) Is heart disease common among women?

For women over 40 years old, heart disease is the leading cause of death, especially after menopause. The risk of heart disease increases dramatically after a woman reaches the age of 50 (about the age of natural menopause). The risk is also higher among young women who have undergone early or surgical menopause, especially when combined with other risk factors such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol, especially high LDL or "bad" cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Problems during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or elevated sugars
  • Rheumatologic and inflammatory diseases
7) What’s a normal heart beat?

When at rest, the normal heart rate for adults can range from 60 to 100 beats per minute. When one has a more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness, the heart rate will be lower. For example, a normal resting heart rate that’s closer to 40 beats per minute is actually normal for a well-trained athlete.

If you want to measure your heart rate, you just need to check your pulse. One way is to place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. Another way is to check your pulse at your wrist by placing two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery, which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.

When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

8) What’s a normal bpm?

The normal heart rates according to age are as follows:

  • Children (ages 6 - 15): 70 – 100 beats per minute
  • Adults (age 18 and over): 60 – 100 beats per minute
9) Does cardiac disease affect the heart?

Conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels are classified as cardiac or cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases can lead to heart attacks or strokes without appropriate and timely treatment.

10) How do I know when should I see a heart doctor?

Determining whether you need a referral to a cardiologist can be done after discussing your symptoms with your primary care provider, in the event you have any concerns about your cardiovascular system or health. The referral may also serve to educate you on the various steps or actions you can take to prevent heart disease.

Examples of symptoms that suggest you may need a referral to a cardiologist include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your legs
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormally fast or slow heart rate
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Strong family history of premature heart disease or cardiac death
  • Leg pain or ulcers resulting from blood vessel diseases

Your symptoms and medical history will first be evaluated by the cardiologist, who may then recommend diagnostic tests to diagnose the cause of your symptoms and assist your cardiology care team in evaluating the best treatment for you.

11) What are the tips to find a good heart hospital or cardiologist near me?
  • Get referrals. Start with your referral list from your primary care doctor.
  • Research the cardiologist's credentials.
  • Consider the cardiologist's experience.
  • Consider gender.
  • Research hospital quality.
  • Evaluate communication style.
  • Read patient reviews.
  • Know what your insurance covers.
MYTHS & FACTS

MYTH: “I’m too young to worry about heart disease.”
FACT: How you live now affects your risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries.

MYTH: “I’d know if I had high blood pressure because there would be warning signs.”
FACT: High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you don’t usually know you have it. You may never experience symptoms, so don’t wait for your body to alert you that there’s a problem.

MYTH: “I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain.”
FACT: Not necessarily. Although it’s common to have chest pain or discomfort, a heart attack may cause subtle symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck or back.

MYTH: “Diabetes won’t threaten my heart as long as I take my medication.”
FACT: Treating diabetes can help reduce your risk for or delay the development of cardiovascular diseases. But even when blood sugar levels are under control, you’re still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

MYTH: “Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.”
FACT: Although people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, you can take steps to dramatically reduce your risk.

MYTH: “I don’t need to have my cholesterol checked until I’m middle-aged.”
FACT: It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults.

MYTH: “Heart failure means the heart stops beating.”
FACT: The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure. With heart failure, the heart keeps working, but it doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.

MYTH: “This pain in my legs must be a sign of aging. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my heart.”
FACT: Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease. PAD results from blocked arteries in the legs caused by plaque buildup. The risk for heart attack or stroke increases for people with PAD.

MYTH: “My heart is beating really fast. I must be having a heart attack.”
FACT: Some variation in your heart rate is normal. Your heart rate speeds up during exercise or when you get excited, and slows down when you’re sleeping. Most of the time, a change in your heartbeat is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, it can be a sign of arrhythmia, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can last long enough to impact how well the heart works and require treatment.

MYTH: “I should avoid exercise after having a heart attack.”
FACT: No! As soon as possible, get moving with a plan approved for you! Research shows that heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active and make other heart-healthy changes live longer than those who don’t. People with chronic conditions typically find that moderate-intensity activity is safe and beneficial.

MYTH: “Heart disease doesn’t happen to young people like me.”
FACT: The truth is, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries, from as early as childhood and adolescence.

MYTH: “I don’t have warning signs for high blood pressure, so I’m definitely healthy.”
FACT: Called the “Silent Killer”, high blood pressure may not show any symptoms, making you think you don’t have it. It’s always better to go for regular medical examinations to be safe.

MYTH: “As long as I take my medication, my diabetes won’t affect my heart.”
FACT: While treating diabetes may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, you are still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

MYTH: “Heart disease runs in my family, so I can’t do anything to prevent it.”
FACT: Even though people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there are steps you can take to dramatically reduce these risks.

MYTH: “Heart failure is when the heart stops beating.”
FACT: While the heart may suddenly stop beating during cardiac arrest, this is not classified as heart failure. The true definition of heart failure is when the heart keeps working, but it does not pump blood as well as it should.

Sources

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21493-cardiovascular-disease
  2. https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/Penerbitan/CPG/CARDIOVASCULAR/3.pdf
  3. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/heart-health-screenings
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118
  5. https://www.gleneagles.com.my/medical-specialties/cardiology
  6. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-faq
  7. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/top-10-myths-about-cardiovascular-disease
  8. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21493-cardiovascular-disease
  9. https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/Penerbitan/CPG/CARDIOVASCULAR/3.pdf
  10. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/heart-health-screenings
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118
  12. https://www.gleneagles.com.my/medical-specialties/cardiology
  13. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-faq
  14. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/top-10-myths-about-cardiovascular-disease
  15. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)
  16. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118
  17. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/heart-rate/faq-20057979
  18. https://www.healthline.com/health/dangerous-heart-rate
  19. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502
  20. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17402-pulse--heart-rate#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20normal%20pulse,60%20%E2%80%93%20100%20beats%20per%20minute
  21. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/when-to-see-a-cardiologist
  22. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/heart-health/8-tips-for-choosing-a-cardiologist

Our Specialists

Dr. Abu Bakar Bin Mamat
Specialty
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dr. Ahmad Ashraf Zaini Anwar
Specialty
Internal Medicine
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Datuk Dr. Akmal Arshad
Specialty
Cardiology
Interventional Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Al Fazir Omar
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Ang Chin Yong
Specialty
Cardiology
Interventional Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Medini Johor
Dr. Annamalar Muthu
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Azani Mohamed Daud
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Chong Wei Peng
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Chu Chong Mow
Specialty
Internal Medicine
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dato' Dr. Devan Pillay
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Dewi Ramasamy
Specialty
Cardiology
Interventional Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Gan Hwa Wooi
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Gordon Ma
Specialty
Cardiology
Internal Medicine
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dr. Kam Jiyen
Specialty
Cardiology
Interventional Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Medini Johor
Dato' Dr. Lee Chiang Heng
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Liao Chi Ming
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dr. Neoh Eu Rick
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Ng Jit Beng
Specialty
Electrophysiology
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Ng Keng Tian
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Dato' Dr. Nik Halmey Bin Nik Zainal Abidin
Specialty
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Datin Dr. Ong Mei Lin
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Rajesh P. Shah
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dato' Dr. Simon Lo
Specialty
Interventional Cardiology
Cardiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Penang
Dr. Siva Rao
Specialty
Cardiology
Paediatrics
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu
Dr. Zulkeflee Muhammad
Specialty
Cardiology
Electrophysiology
Location
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur

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