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[w8_column type=”col-md-6″]« Steps to Heart Health 1[/w8_column]


Risk F Risk factors you can change,Alter alter or treat – October 1st, 2005


Datuk Dr.V.Kathiresan
Consultant Cardiac Anaesthesiologist,
Damansara Health Centre,
Kuala Lumpur


Cholesterol is a type of body fat found in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. It is an important part of a healthy body because it’s used to form cell membranes, some hormones and other needed tissues. But a high level of cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.

Cholesterol and other fats have to be transported to and from the body’s cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. There are several kinds of lipoproteins, but the ones to be most concerned about are low density lipoprotein ( LDL) and high density lipoproteins ( HDL).

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. When a person has too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, the LDL can slowly build up within the walls of the blood vessel feeding the heart and brain. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those blood vessels leading to heart attack and stroke.

A high level of LDL reflects an increased risk of heart attack, which is why LDL is often called” bad ” cholesterol. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is another cholesterol carrier in the blood. HDL removes excess cholesterol from atherosclerotic plaque and thus slows their growth. HDL is known as good cholesterol because it seems to protect against heart attack.

Cholesterol comes from two sources. It’s produced in the body mostly in the liver (about 1000 milligrams a day), and is found in the foods such as meats, seafood, poultry and dairy products. Foods from plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds) do not contain cholesterol. Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day. It is better to avoid deep fried food, ghee, butter and cheese. Use skim and low fat dairy products. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE directly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure can occur in children or adults. Obese people, heavy drinkers and women who are taking oral contraceptives are more prone to get high blood pressure. People with diabetes, gout or kidney disease are also prone to get high blood pressure. People with high pressures must reduce their salt intake in diet. If you are over weight reduce your body weight and do regular exercise. Because there is no cure for high blood pressure, treatment must be carried out for life.


Physical inactivity is major risk factor for heart disease. It also contributes to other risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol. Regular moderate to vigorous exercise is important to reduce the chance of getting heart attack. It is better to do regular exercise minimum 30 minutes a day for 3 or 4 days a week. Activities that are beneficial when performed regularly include; brisk walking, hiking, stair- climbing, jogging, running, bicycling and swimming. Do not over do physical activity.


A person is generally considered obese when body weight exceeds desirable weight for height and gender by 20 percent or more. If you are unsure of what your desirable weight is, ask your doctor. It is a major risk factor for heart attack. Obesity also increases the chance of getting high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. It may also cause gall stones and arthritis. So it is important to keep the body weight under control.


Diabetes mellitus is the inability of the body to produce or respond to insulin properly. Insulin allows the body to use glucose (sugar). Diabetes may be delayed or controlled with diet and exercise. People with diabetes can get heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and loss of eye sight. So it is very important to keep diabetes under control. They should completely give up smoking and drinking alcohol. It is important to control weight and blood cholesterol and do regular exercise



It may be one of the factors for getting heart attack. People under stress also may start smoking and drinking alcohol which may further contribute to heart disease. Meditation may help to get over from stress. Must learn to relax and live a stress free life.


Alcohol, used in excess, can raise the levels of some kinds of fats in the blood (triglycerides). It can also raise blood pressure and cause heart failure. If you don’t have drinking habit don’t start it. If you have the habit try to stop it or reduce the amount of drinking alcohol.

We have seen so many risk factors which can lead to heart attack. Higher the number of risk factors if anyone has the higher the chance of getting heart attack. It is important to avoid the risk factors which we can avoid and modify or treat the risk factors which can not be avoided and keep them under control. By doing this we can decrease the chance of getting heart attack. Reward yourself for accomplishments, and don’t be discouraged by the difficulties you may encounter in reaching your goals
You may find that your determination to change your life style will influence your family and friends to do the same. Changes are much easier to make if those around you join in the effort. Prevention is better than cure. It is better to avoid getting heart attack than getting treated for it. It is important to go for regular medical checkup after 40 or 45 years old.

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