Taking care of the heart

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Dr. Lim Choon Pin of Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore shares truths about cardiovascular diseases

Dr. Lim Choon Pin of Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore

Our heart is one of the most vital organs that keep us alive, constantly working beat by beat throughout the day. Many people, however, neglect to take care of their heart, and develop certain cardiovascular diseases that can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices.

“According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. There’s about 17.9 million people deaths each year as a result of cardiovascular diseases,” Dr. Lim Choon Pin, consultant cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore, told BusinessWorld in an interview.

Some of the most common heart problems and conditions affecting many people across the world, according to Dr. Lim, include coronary heart disease, heart failure, and heart rhythm problems. Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a condition where the blood vessels of the heart are blocked as a result of cholesterol buildup. This heart condition can cause chest pain or breathlessness and can lead to heart attack, Dr. Lim said.

Heart failure, on the other hand, is a condition when the heart cannot keep up with its workload. According to Dr. Lim, this condition affects close to 30 million people worldwide and accounts for about one million hospitalizations each year in Europe. Despite these, he noted that heart failure remains as a misunderstood disease.


Heart rhythm problems, meanwhile, occur when there is a problem with the rhythm of the heart. One of the most common types of this condition is atrial fibrillation. According to Dr. Lim, nearly a quarter of people above 40 years old will develop this condition in their lifetime.

There are numerous factors associated with the development of heart conditions, which Dr. Lim classified into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable factors. The first category relates to factors within our control, such as maintaining blood pressure and sugar intake and reducing cholesterol. The non-modifiable, on the other hand, refers to factors beyond our control, such as age, ethnicity, and genetics.

“That means that in spite of doing whatever we can to control diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the other modifiable risk factors, there is still this residual risk that is beyond our control,” Dr. Lim said.

Over the past decade, there had been a significant improvement in the field of cardiology when it comes to advances in technology. Dr. Lim said that these developments have allowed patients with heart diseases to undergo successful treatment.

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore, utmost patient care is guaranteed with its first-class medical talents and facilities. “We have a lot of skilled doctors [and] experienced consultants in Mount Elizabeth… The hospital is also equipped with advanced technologies,” Dr. Lim said.

Besides delivering top-class medical care, Dr. Lim assured that patients in Mount Elizabeth Hospitals will expect an excellent quality of service not only from its doctors and nurses, but also from service staff, cooks, and other workers. As he noted, “everybody is very committed to delivering a good quality service.”

Meanwhile, to reduce the risk of developing heart diseases, Dr. Lim advised individuals to embrace an active and healthy lifestyle. These include having a moderate intensity of exercise about five times per week and adopting a diet that is low in fats, salt, and sugar and rich in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to these, Dr. Lim underscored the importance of regular screenings to monitor the main risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Moreover, Dr. Lim advised smokers and other tobacco users to quit from their habit.

“Once you stop smoking, after about 10 years of stopping smoking, the risk of developing heart diseases drops back to that level of a non-smoker. So it’s never too late to stop smoking,” Dr. Lim said.

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