All you need to know about heart disease

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019

On call: Dr Liew (left) and Dr Zubin will speak at Menara Star on Sept 28.

PETALING JAYA: Once associated with old age, heart disease is increasingly common among young adults.

“There are patients as young as 20 with coronary artery disease while some do not show symptoms like chest discomfort, chest pain radiating to jaw, neck and shoulder, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and vomiting, ” said consultant cardiologist Dr Liew Chee Khoon.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood, caused by atherosclerosis – a condition where cholesterol and fatty deposits build up in the arteries.

The most common test to show how your heart works during physical activity is an exercise stress test where a patient will walk on the treadmill while an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors the heart rate.

“We will stop at the exercise stress test if the result is negative. If a more accurate assessment is needed, a CT coronary angiogram (CTCA) scan will be performed on the patient.

“There are two types of CTCA: non-invasive and invasive.

“The non-invasive option is for patients who can hold their breath without any movement for up to 15 seconds and shows a heart rate of 70bpm or 80bpm with medication.

“The invasive option requires injecting of contrast into the bloodstream to highlight any blockages in your coronary arteries, ” he said.

Dr Liew will be speaking on this topic and the role of CTCA in diagnosing CAD at the StarLIVE talk at Menara Star here on Sept 28.

Joining him at StarLIVE will be consultant physician and cardiologist Dr Zubin Othman Ibrahim who will speak on physical activity to boost heart health, especially after a heart attack.

“Nothing beats physical activity to keep your heart strong. Exercise is important for the young and old, especially for the prevention and recovery of heart diseases.

“High cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes greatly increase the risk of heart disease while age is a consistent known factor.

“While exercising can help avoid those risks, patients who join cardiac rehabilitation programmes have shown better recovery and outcomes after a heart attack or a bypass surgery or even for heart failure patients.

“The key with exercise is to do it in the right amount and within your capability, ” said Dr Zubin.

In general, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of strenuous activity per week is recommended, he added.

The StarLIVE talk is organised by The Star and Ramsay Sime Darby. It will be held on Sept 28 at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya. Admission is free and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register at

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