On a daily basis, 19 people die from heart disease and stroke. In 2019, cardiovascular disease numbered 31.7% of all deaths in Singapore, which means that almost one out of 3 deaths occurs because of heart diseases or stroke. Male mortality recorded a higher percentage as compared to women. On a global scale, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death. The number of related deaths has jumped sharply between the years 2000 and 2019 by 2 million people. From these numbers alone, you’ll realise that this disease is a serious problem that affects many people across the globe, and not just Singapore alone. In this article, we’ll look at heart disease and the dangers it poses. What is Heart Disease? Heart disease is a broad term that covers different conditions that affect your heart. This includes coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, heart infection and more. The symptoms depend on the specific problem that you have. For example, the accumulation of fatty plaques in your arteries, also called atherosclerosis, can lead to the narrowing or blockage of heart vessels. Symptoms to expect are shortness of breath, chest pain, and numbness in your limbs. This may eventually cause a heart attack or stroke. Causes of Heart Disease There are various types of heart disease and their corresponding causes. Let’s take coronary heart disease as an example. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like being overweight, smoking, drinking and lack of exercise can result in a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries. For cardiomyopathy, which essentially means the thickening or enlarging of your heart muscle, it can be one of three reasons: dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Most of them are inherited, or caused by diseases. Heart infection, or endocarditis, mainly happens when bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses reach your heart muscle. If left untreated, it can swiftly damage or destroy your heart valves. Complications of Heart Disease Heart attack When a blood clot stops the flow of blood passing through a blood vessel that supplies the heart, it can lead to a heart attack. As a result, it may cause a part of the heart muscle to be damaged or destroyed. Stroke A stroke happens when the arteries leading to your brain are narrowed or clogged, causing little blood to reach your brain. A stroke is serious because brain tissue starts to die within just a few minutes of it happening. Aneurysm An aneurysm refers to swelling in the wall of your artery. If it bursts, you may encounter life-threatening internal bleeding. How to Manage and Prevent Heart Disease While some types of heart disease like heart defects cannot be prevented, you can make lifestyle changes to improve your condition and prevent other kinds of heart disease. This includes maintaining a healthy weight that falls in a good BMI range, managing stress, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking. If you have heart disease, you can also manage it with the help of a house doctor. You can even do regular management with routine telemedicine consultation with D&CMed’s dedicated house doctor!