KUALA LUMPUR: People in their 40s and 50s who may look well had reportedly collapsed suddenly of a heart attack.
For this reason, National Heart Institute (IJN) CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub (pic) said the standard medical advice is that a male age 40 or female age 45 and above should go for a heart screening.
“And they need to do it every year because heart disease can occur at any time,” he said at the launch of IJN’s The Incredible Heart event yesterday.
Dr Azhari said those with a family history of heart problems would need to go for screening even earlier, at 30 or 35.
He said the exercise stress test for the heart had a sensitivity of 90% to 95% and while it was not full proof, it was a good screening test. He said cardiovascular disease had been the leading cause of death in Malaysia for 10 years, and it is the number one cause of death globally.
The number of people in Malaysia suffering from non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes was rising but awareness was also increasing with more people coming forward to be screened, he said.
In IJN for instance, the percentage of people going for screening had been increasing at a rate of 15% to 20% every year, said Dr Azhari.
Nevertheless, there was still a big gap between awareness and its translation into action, he said.
“It’d be good if Malaysians know the value of taking care of their food and be more active,” he added.
Dr Azhari said IJN does not want to be known as just a centre treating heart problems but also a promoter of heart health.
“Sometimes, you think that you are well but you may have a heart problem and we don’t want you to know it only when you have collapsed or when you are unwell.
“We want to pick it up early so that preventive measures can be taken,” he said.
He said people could make an appointment or walk in to see a doctor at IJN without the need for referrals, unless they are subsidised by the Government, and their treatments are GST-free.
In conjunction with the International World Heart Day celebration, which falls on Sept 27 this year, IJN has organised The Incredible Heart event from Sept 7 to Oct 7 filled with fun activities for children and adults.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, there will be an adult and paediatric free heart screening programme, while on Tuesday and Thursday, a Quit Smoking clinic will be held.
There will also be cooking demonstrations to educate the public on healthy recipes for a healthier heart, CPR demonstration, easy exercise and more.