Your heart health matters

The term “heart disease” often can refer to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease is the coronary artery disease which is also the leading cause of global mortality and morbidity.

Coronary artery disease is a heart condition that affects the major blood vessels. It prevents the blood vessels from supplying enough blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle, which would eventually lead to a heart attack.

In this interview, Dr Lee Li Ching, Cardiologist from Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL) would be sharing her insights on the classic symptoms of a heart attack, procedure of a heart screening process, what an individual can do to lower their risk of heart disease and more.

 

Diseases involving the heart

There are many types of heart disease, and each one has its own symptoms and treatment. Some of the diseases involving the heart include heart failure, the heart muscles not pumping well, leaking valves (heart valves that don’t close tightly enough), arrhythmias (happens when there is an irregular heart beating pattern), congenital heart disease and more,” said Dr Lee.

Classic symptoms of a heart attack

Dr Lee explained that some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain that may feel like pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing or aching. This pain or discomfort will then spread to the shoulder, neck or the left upper arm. You also may experience cold sweat, fatigue, heartburn, lightheadedness, nausea and shortness of breath.

“People will often describe it as ‘an elephant sat on my chest’ that sort of constricting feeling”

“Smoking, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or a strong family history of heart disease makes you more likely to get coronary artery disease. If you’re at high risk of coronary artery disease, talk to your health care provider. You may need tests to check for narrowed arteries or coronary artery disease,” said Dr Lee.

Pacemakers for a weak heart

The most common reason people get a pacemaker is when their heart beats too slowly or it pauses, causing fainting spells and other symptoms. Some special pacemakers  can also be used to help your heart chambers beat in sync if your heart is too weak and isn’t pumping enough blood to your body. This can happen because of:

  • Certain congenital heart diseases
  • Enlarged or thick heart muscle that makes it harder to pump blood out of your ventricles
  • Ischaemic heart disease causing weak heart

Dr Lee explained that the heart functions as a house with four rooms. Your heart valves are like doors between your heart chambers. They open and close to allow blood to flow through. Then there is also the wiring as well as the drainage system. Typically the concern is usually the drainage system (where blockage of the artery would occur).

What does a heart screening detect?

Screening tests find disease before symptoms begin. The goal of screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage.

Screening tests may include:

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG): Measures the electrical activity of the heart and records information on heart rate and rhythm.

Exercise cardiac stress test: Involves walking on a treadmill at increasing levels of difficulty. During this test, the doctor checks your heart rate, blood pressure, and the electrical activity of your heart using ECG. This helps check if there is enough blood flow to your heart when it is stressed.

Coronary CT angiography: Uses CT and contrast material to create three-dimensional images of your coronary arteries. This helps your doctor pinpoint the exact location, extent of plaque buildup (both calcified and noncalcified), and if there is blockage or narrowing (called stenosis) of your coronary arteries.

You can prevent heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are strategies to help you protect your heart.

  1. Practise a healthy diet
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Get moving (be physically active)
  4. Avoid smoking or use of tobacco
  5. Manage your stress levels

Prevention is key to longevity

Your health care team can help reduce your risk of heart disease to live a longer, healthier life. Whether or not you are presenting symptoms of cardiovascular disease, you should continue consistent check-ups. This will offer peace of mind or help to catch any dangerous symptoms early on.

Specialising in comprehensive modern care for patients with cardiac and vascular diseases, CVSKL is backed by a sterling track record of achievements and expertise. Their hand-picked team of dedicated specialists ensures the highest standards of evidence-based and professional care.

Visit https://www.cvskl.com/ to make an appointment with CVSKL’s  team of experienced specialist doctors and cardiologists today.

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Unveiling #BreakTheHeartAche campaign panel discussion with Maggy Wang

#BreakTheHeartAche_MaggyWang_Dr.AlFazir_Malaysiakini

Early detection of heart diseases is the first step in ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment, leading ultimately, to better outcomes. Currently, about 3.4 million Malaysians have one or more risk factors which are high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. Heart diseases have been and are still the number one killer in Malaysia.

Living with a heart disease can be quite disheartening, especially when it’s watching your loved ones go through the recovery period or worse yet, a stroke that results in paralysis. Themed #BreakTheHeartache, this campaign aims to break the physical and emotional distress that comes with the diagnosis of a heart disease, either to themselves or their loved ones by taking an active approach to taking care of one’s’ heart. Driven by social media personality and entrepreneur, Maggy Wang, she recently hosted a panel discussion in collaboration with CVSKL and Viatris.

During the discussion, Maggy shared, “Looking healthy and being healthy are not the same thing as heart disease can affect anyone, this is the reason why I have been an advocate for regular health check-ups and the importance of early detection and screening.” When asked about the reason behind the collaboration with CVSKL for this campaign, Country Manager of Viatris, Jeff Bote shared that “The key to mitigate risks of heart diseases is raising awareness and seeking early treatment. We are proud to collaborate with CVSKL to empower people in Malaysia to live healthier no matter their age or risk factors”. Dr. Al Fazir Omar, consultant cardiologist in CVSKL also took the opportunity to advise all the participants to go for an annual health screening because knowing your health status is the first step to addressing any health issues.

Among those who attended the panel discussion were Maggy’s sixteen selected followers who shared their stories through the campaign hashtag #BreakTheHeartAche. Together, they sat down with Dr. Al Fazir to address the pressing matters of symptoms of cardiovascular disease and help the audience in understanding the patient’s risk journey to managing lifestyle habits.

For more information on Essential Heart Screening, please call or WhatsApp us at +603 2276 7002 or email us at info@cvskl.com.

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#BreakTheHeartAche: Early screening is the key to heart disease prevention

Our heart functions as the engine in our body as this organ pumps relentlessly from the day that we are born and doesn’t stop beating even when we are asleep. This complex network is truly a marvellous wonder.

However, the prevalence of heart disease in Malaysia is ever increasing. What used to be a disease of the elderly is now seen much earlier. According to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia 2021, ischemic heart diseases (heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries) remains as the principal causes of death, with 17 percent of the 109,155 medically certified deaths in 2020.

Some symptoms don’t even happen in your chest and it’s not always easy to tell what’s going on. That’s especially true if you are 60 and older, overweight, have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to have heart-related problems.

#BreakTheHeartAche

#BreakTheHeartAche is a public education campaign that focuses on driving awareness on heart diseases in Malaysia. Jointly organised by Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL) and Viatris Malaysia, this campaign highlights the importance to allow early heart early detection of heart problems if any and seek relevant treatment to the general public.

According to Host, Podcaster and Fitness Entrepreneur Maggy Wang who is also the campaign ambassador , #BreakTheHeartAche is a campaign that predominantly highlights the issue of heart disease, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Maggy Wang, #BreakTheHeartAche Campaign Ambassador

“Looking healthy and being healthy are not the same thing as heart disease can affect ANYONE. For instance, if we take a look at today’s lifestyle, the majority of us prefer to consume a lot of processed food and fast food that are readily available. Consuming too much of this would increase your saturated fat intake, which causes a higher risk of heart attack, cholesterol, stroke and many other complication”

How much do you really know about your heart’s health?

It’s easy to be fooled by misconceptions. After all, heart disease only happens to elderly people, right?

The reality is that heart disease can affect people of any age, even those who eat right. Some people have the perception that if my body looks fit or if I exercise everyday, I would not be facing heart issues. We have to take note that relying on false assumptions can be dangerous to your heart.

“This is the reason why I have been an advocate for regular health check-ups and the importance of early detection and screening. Our goal is to create as much awareness as possible on the importance of early screenings for better treatment and diagnosis,” she explained.

Dr Fazir, Heart Specialist from CVSKL

According to Dr Fazir, cardiovascular disease (heart disease) refers to a group of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels of your body. A person may be symptomatic with chest discomfort or shortness of breath, however some patients may not present with any symptoms at all.

Several risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol or family history and lifestyle can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. The more time that passes without treatment, to restore blood flow, the greater the risk of damage to the heart muscle.

Signs of an individual having heart problems

Dr Fazir pointed out that heart disease symptoms can vary depending on the cause. Some of the symptoms includes :

  • Left sided / central Chest pain.
  • Sweating.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Left arm pain and occasional radiates to the jaw

How is cardiovascular disease diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, personal health and family health history. They may also order tests to help diagnose cardiovascular disease, as appropriate.

Dr Fazir further explained that there are some common tests to diagnose cardiovascular disease which include:

1. Blood test to assess your baseline blood readings such as measuring your cholesterol sugar and kidney levels.

2. Electrocardiogram (ECG) records the electrical activity in your heart.

3. Echocardiogram – Ultrasound (something like a baby scan) which uses sound waves to visualise your heart structure

4. Exercise stress test/stress echocardiogram

5. Advance tools to assess your heart in detail when it is required such as Cardiac CT and Cardiac MRI.

6. Coronary angiogram, when the patient has evidence of significant coronary artery disease or unstable symptoms

A heart screening test is useful to detect the most common cause of heart disease. Knowing about your condition early gives you the heads up for the need for lifestyle changes and medications if appropriate to reduce the risk of heart problems.

The campaign theme #BreakTheHeartAche was born to educate people on breaking the stigma of heart diseases and curb the severity of this illness.

How do Viatris support sustainable healthcare initiatives?

According to the Country Manager of Viatris Malaysia, Jeff Bote, all healthcare industries have a role to play in creating sustainable initiatives. At Viatris, they strive on 3 pillars which are Access, Leadership and Partnership.

Jeff Bote, Country Manager of Viatris Malaysia

Hence, through this partnership with CVSKL, #BreakTheHeartAche campaign will surely bring the message of the importance of early screening to the community. As we all know “Prevention is better than Cure!”

Collaborating together in the #BreakTheHeartAche campaign?

Untreated hypertension can lead to serious consequences such as heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. With the latest data from National Health Morbidity Survey 2019, it shows that 3 in 10 or 6.4 million people in Malaysia have hypertension. Out of this, half of them are unaware that they have the disease.

“This is why we see the need to educate on the importance of heart health among the community, especially in the younger peers. Through this collaboration, we believe it will enhance the public awareness on the danger of cardiovascular diseases and its complications. Most importantly, this campaign will encourage everyone to get early screenings and treatment,” he further explained.

This is in line with Viatris mission of empowering people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life.

Take charge of your body

When it comes to your body, remember you’re in charge. If you’ve noticed any unusual symptoms, immediately speak to your doctor. Don’t put it off or ignore it. It might not be related to heart disease – but if it is, finding it early can make a real difference!

Equipped with the latest and most advanced facilities, CVSKL is a dedicated centre of excellence for cardiovascular care. Visit https://www.cvskl.com/ to make an appointment with CVSKL’s team of experienced specialist doctors and cardiologists today.

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Doctors pledge RM1 million in donation to CVSKL Foundation

CVSKL chalked up another milestone by launching CVSKL Foundation, the hospital’s first foundation to improve a better healthcare system for Malaysian underprivileged patients, especially for those who are seeking complex medical care.

CVSKL Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organization is founded by the team of doctors at CVSKL and is governed by a Board of Trustees who are industry leaders in various sectors. The objectives of the Foundation are to support medical advancement and research initiatives, increase awareness on cardiac and vascular diseases and to provide financial support for the low-income group through management of funds received and raised.

CVSKL Foundation was officially launched by its’ Patron, Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir together with its’ Board of Trustees. Chairman, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Rashpal Singh highlighted todays’ launch came together at the most opportune of time when the government is shifting its’ priority from management of Covid-19 to restarting the nations’ economy and recovery from the impact. He added, “The high utilization of public healthcare services has led to overcrowded facilities resulting in longer wait and initiatives such as medical research funding and reducing the burden in public hospitals can be looked into. We are ready to work with the Ministry of Health to complement the governments’ hard work in improving the social wellbeing and health quality of fellow Malaysians.”

Datuk Dr. Rosli, consultant cardiologist at CVSKL also handed over a cheque of RM 1 million ringgit in donation to CVSKL Foundation.

Datuk Dr. Rosli, shared, “The establishment of CVSKL Foundation is an essential piece of the puzzle that will amplify CVSKL as a Centre of Excellence. In 2021 alone, our CSR efforts totalled up to RM4.15 million which benefitted 545 patients. With CVSKL Foundation unifying and intensifying this, I am certain we are able to help more people.”

For more information on CVSKL Foundation, please visit https://www.cvskl.com/

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Marion Caunter hosts panel discussion with Dr. Tan Kia Lean of CVSKL on knowing varicose veins

Marion Caunter, social media personality, independent entrepreneur, and supermom to three beautiful children hosted a panel discussion on the importance of diagnosing and treating varicose veins. Titled ‘Knowing Varicose Veins,’ the panel discussion took place on 19th March at Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL) and is part of a public education campaign by Medtronic to raise awareness of the condition amongst young women in Malaysia.

The campaign aims to empower young women with information to identify early signs of varicose veins so that they can seek professional treatment before it is too late. Varicose veins are often misconstrued to be a condition that occurs with old age and a purely aesthetic one due to the unsightly appearance of the legs. However, when left untreated, varicose veins can cause immobility and affect one’s quality of life. In more severe cases, varicose veins can restrict blood pressure in the veins, thus fighting to circulate blood flow to the heart as well. Due to risk factors such as pregnancy and the presence of oestrogen in their system, the number of women who are diagnosed with varicose veins is two times more than men ¹.

Navigating varicose veins can be life changing for many women who are hustling for their career and family. During the discussion, Marion shared “As a mother and businesswoman, I understand the hustle and how women especially in their 20s and 30s put so much pressure on themselves but it’s important to remember that we need to take good care of our physical and mental health before we can care for those around us.”

Along with ten of her Instagram followers who were young women like herself, Marion sat down with Consultant Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon from CVSKL, Dr Tan Kia Lean to highlight the importance of identifying the early signs of varicose veins and preventive measures that women can take to reduce their risk. Dr Tan said “Technology has advanced so much over the last 20 years and we can easily identify the condition and seek appropriate treatment before it affects your quality of life. If you suspect any symptoms, be sure to seek help from a professional who is experienced and can advise you on the necessary steps to take.”

For more information on Varicose Veins Screening, please call or WhatsApp us at +603 2276 7002 or email us at info@cvskl.com.

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CVSKL marks its 4th Anniversary with a giving heart

Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL) and its’ doctors joined hands with CIMB Foundation to celebrate CVSKLs’ 4th anniversary with a full day of charity cases at no cost to 11 patients.

The CVSKL team, led by Chairman and consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Yahya bin Awang mooted the idea of dedicating their anniversary, which falls on the 28th of November, to treating underprivileged patients for free. To make this possible, all hospital charges and doctors’ fees were waived for the 11 patients who benefitted from CVSKL’s Charity Day. The team of doctors performed 1 CABG (open heart surgery), 4 angioplasties, 4 atrioventricular fistula creation procedures, 1 ablation and 1 pacemaker implant. The estimated cost of these procedures to the patients would have totalled up to RM400,000.

Commenting on the good cause, Tan Sri Dato Dr. Yahya Awang, Chairman, and consultant cardiothoracic surgeon said, “It’s a great way to celebrate CVSKL turning 4. Contributing back to society is always at the heart of what we do as we are not just another private hospital but one with a strong CSR presence. As an essential service provider, we are in a good position to help the needy and the vulnerable especially during this time of Covid-19.” Adding on to his statement, he also thanked CIMB Foundation for agreeing to support this cause by pledging to cover the cost of medical/surgical supplies.

Rafe Haneef, CEO of CIMB Foundation congratulated CVSKL on their milestone and added “On behalf of CIMB Foundation, we’d like to congratulate CVSKL on their 4th anniversary. With Health and Community Wellbeing being one of our impact areas, we are pleased to be able to support this cause on the occasion of CVSKL’s anniversary to provide life-changing cardiac and vascular procedures. This meaningful campaign which benefits the B40 segment of patients resonates strongly with our values as we continue to empower communities and change lives.”

Consultant endovascular and vascular surgeon, Dr. Tan Kia Lean performs an AVF procedure on a Charity Day patient

A nurse from the operating theatre shared, “These cases were performed continuously, one after another. It was a tiring day for all of us especially on a weekend where we typically recharge by spending time with our families, but knowing that this is for a good cause makes it worthwhile, especially in conjunction with our anniversary.”

Consultant cardiologists Datuk Dr. Tamilselvan Muthusamy (right) and Datuk Dr. Rosli Ali (2nd from right) during an angioplasty procedure

CVSKL extends their deepest gratitude to participating partners: Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Orbusneich, Biosense Webster, BBraun, Alvimedica, Gaia Medicals, Bard, Terumo, Mitsu Scientific, Eternity Healthcare and BKS Medic.

For more information, please call or Whatsapp us at +603 2276 7002 during our normal office hours or email us at info@cvskl.com.