Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for males in Hong Kong. In 2019 alone, 3409 men died of heart disease. About 67% of these deaths were related to coronary heart disease. The ratio of men to women suffering from heart disease is about 1.6:1.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease generally refers to various heart-related diseases, including coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, and etc. Coronary heart diseases account for the most heart disease deaths.
Patients with heart disease usually develop angina after strenuous exercise. The pain may spread to the arms, shoulders, neck, or jaw, and symptoms are relieved with rest. However, as the disease progresses, the degree of angina pectoris will intensify and the duration of symptoms will increase. Other possible symptoms include:
- Heart rhythm disturbance
- Shortness of breath
- Urge to vomit
- Pale complexion
Different heart diseases have different causes. Excluding congenital factors, most heart disease is caused by excessive cholesterol buildup in the coronary arteries, which narrows the arterial lumen and reduces blood supply to the myocardium, resulting in heart disease symptoms, such as angina etc. In addition, there are many other factors that can lead to heart disease.
- Lack of exercise
- Bad eating habits
- Chronic stress
- Echocardiogram: Uses ultrasounds to obtain a clear image of the heart to detect irregular contractions. Depending on the patient’s condition, the cardiologist may recommend that the patient undergo both exercise electrocardiography and coronary angiography
- Electrocardiogram Examination: Obtains preliminary understanding of a patient's heart condition through static electrocardiograms, which checks whether the patient has heart attacks or signs of myocardial necrosis. Exercise electrocardiograms can check whether there is sufficient blood flow in the cardiovascular system when the heart is compressed
- Computer Scanning, MRI: If the patient’s ECG is abnormal or the patient is suspected of having coronary heart disease symptoms, a cardiologist may suggest undergoing a computerized scan to check whether there is plaque accumulation, narrowing of blood vessels, and the degree of atherosclerosis in the heart blood vessels; magnetic resonance can confirm where the blood flow is blocked. An isotope nuclear scan can check which part of the heart has insufficient blood supply to estimate the location of blood vessel blockage.
- Cardiac Catheterization: Used to assess severity of the disease and location of blood vessel narrowing or embolism. Under x-ray monitoring, a cardiac catheter is inserted into the artery from the right groin, and a contrast agent is injected into the coronary artery that reaches the heart. X-rays images are then taken of the result.
Treatment methods vary depending on the type of heart disease.
- Coronary Heart Disease : Can be treated with different methods. If the condition is mild, the symptoms can be relieved by changing lifestyle habits. In cases of chronic coronary heart disease. Antiplatelet drugs can reduce the risk of acute vascular embolism and heart disease. For serious conditions that affect daily life, it may be necessary to undergo angioplasty surgery.
- Arrhythmia : The most standard and common treatment is catheter ablation, which corrects abnormal heart beats. Other methods include implanting artificial cardiac defibrillators or anticoagulant medication.
- Valve disease or cardiac muscle disease : The patient’s heart valve may be damaged from inflammation. Depending on the condition, a doctor will decide whether to allow the patient to undergo heart muscle treatment, repair the valve, or replace it entirely to restore valve function.