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5 Things Your Cardiologist Wishes You Knew About Your Heart Health

The heart is one of the most complex organs in the human body. Even primary school students in Singapore are taught that the organ beats around 100,000 times on the daily and is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Early in our lives, we are also taught of the importance of our heart and how we should take good care of it.

The good news is: you don’t need to be a cardiologist to know every fact about your heart. The size of our hearts is approximately the same as the size of a fist. Because of certain factors, like gender and age, our heartbeats also differ from one another. Women’s hearts are known to beat faster than men’s.

Although some people might have ample knowledge about the heart, there are still some facts most heart doctor wishes people beforehand. The best cardiologist in Singapore would likely advise you to get your cholesterol level regularly checked, have regular exercise, and eat a healthy and balanced diet. However, that’s not all that there is to know when it comes to heart health.

There are symptoms and red flags you need to get checked on by a heart specialist, and procedures (such as a heart screening) to undergo regularly. Even your pulse in itself can tell you something about the condition of your heart in general. Well-experienced professionals from your local cardiology center can help you assess your heart health.

Other than that, here are some other things your cardiologist likely wishes you knew:

1. A heart disease can be almost always preventable, but…

Fortunately, any heart disease is considerably almost always preventable. But here’s the catch: once you get diagnosed by a heart specialist doctor in Singapore with it, you can expect to live with the condition for the rest of your life.

It’s a common misconception how several people firmly believe they are cured and completely healed after getting treatment for their heart attack. Most heart specialist hopes more people should be aware that every heart disease is a chronic illness, and it needs regular care and ongoing treatment. The condition doesn’t just miraculously disappear after getting enough medication or a surgery.

While some heart diseases are caused by family history or genetic factors, all hope is not lost as it can still be prevented early on.

2. Your pulse can give you an idea about your general heart health

Aside from getting a heart screening to monitor your heart’s condition and performance, your pulse alone can tell you a lot about your heart health. Feeling your pulse allows you to know your current heart rate. When relaxed and at rest, the heartbeat rate is also usually fairly slow and regular (around 60 beats in a minute) which suggests a relatively healthy and normal heart health.

Having a slow heartbeat rate while at rest can be linked to having a longer life and a lower risk of landing a chronic heart disease. If it’s rather erratic and fast, however, that might be an indication that your heart isn’t as healthy as it should be.

Your heart doctor would likely tell you that the occurrence of an erratic heart pulse suggests a heart rhythm disorder, like atrial flutter or fibrillation. If your pulse is constantly irregular, it is encouraged to seek help from your cardiologist to get properly screened and tested.

3. Always get your blood pressure checked – especially if you’re over 40

Having a high blood pressure is one leading factor that puts you at great risk of getting cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart disease, or heart failure. This dangerous factor as you can understand from a website in Singapore like http://www.harleystreet.sg/blog/heart-health-get-screened-by-a-good-cardiologist-in-singapore/ is usually silent, since persistent high blood pressure typically has no obvious symptoms. The only way of knowing is to have yourself checked and tested.

There is no need to book an appointment to the cardiologist’s office just to figure out your current blood pressure. Self-measuring blood pressure machines are already starting to show up in more public places such as medical centers, fitness gyms, and even shopping centers.
With a normal blood pressure, you do not necessarily have to get it checked more than once every 2-3 years.

4. The age of your heart may be older than your current age in years

As previously mentioned, the heart is one complex organ. There is a chance that your heart age may be quite older than your age in years. You can determine your heart age through risk-prediction calculators made available online – which requires necessary personal information such as your age in years, lifestyle factors, and other data. The Q Risk calculator is a highly recommended one.

Do note that the calculator only works best if you’re in a good, healthy condition with no existing heart disease. No need to worry if you’re unsure about some answers, you can always opt to leave some fields blank.

If the results show that your heart age is higher than your own age in years, it might suggest that you’re neglecting your heart and letting it mature beyond your age in years. If the results show your heart age is younger than your age in years, you are doing a good job!

5. Having a family heart history is enough reason to get tested and screened

Do not ignore your family’s heart history. If an immediate relative (a parent or a sibling) passed away from a heart-related condition under the age of 50, that might put you at a risk of sharing a similar heart condition. You may be at a greater risk if the attack was rather unexpected or sudden. We don’t mean to scare you – but it’s best to get yourself tested and screened as soon as possible.

You can ask your heart doctor for a pair of tests: a 12-lead Electrocardiogram (ECG) and a current cholesterol screen. Don’t worry, both tests are generally inexpensive and easy to book.

Perks of Regularly Drinking Alkaline Water

Drinking alkaline water has become increasingly popular over the last few years. With more and more social media influencers posting Instagram pictures with their bottled alkaline water, the reception has reached a massive following in Singapore. Drinking alkaline water isn’t only popular among fitness and gym enthusiasts, but it is also now regularly followed by regular people and even famous celebrities alike.

Alkaline water vs. Tap water
With the hype attached to drinking alkaline water, it’s not a surprise to know even famous celebrities are drinking it. Supermodel Miranda Kerr and Actor Mark Wahlberg are only among the few. There are several benefits of alkaline water to the body, but one important question to ask is, how does it differ from your regular tap water?

For one, alkaline water has lesser acidity than tap. It contains a pH level over seven, which means the drink possesses lesser concentration of hydrogen ions. All liquids use the pH scale to measure and determine its acidity, and the scale ranges from 0-14 for drinkable fluids. If the drink has a pH level under 7 (such as vinegar, orange juice, black coffee), it means it is acidic. Seven is considered as the neutral level, but anything above 7 contains strong alkaline content (like baking soda).

Where can you consume alkaline water?
More and more businesses in Singapore are profiting off the hype of alkaline water. The drink is now made more accessible through various sources; such as special water filter, additive, customized faucet attachment, and to more sophisticated technology like an alkaline water ioniser machine. These are responsible for raising the pH level of your water.

If we’re talking convenience and popularity, however, alkaline bottled waters are arguably the most popular option to drink alkaline water in Singapore. But some homes also go through further lengths such as getting their personal alkaline water ionizer for their needs.

Perks of drinking alkaline water
Before you go and stock up on your alkaline water supply, it is important to remember that these alkaline water in Singapore perks and benefits attributed to drinking alkaline water still have no strong scientific backing. To date, clinical studies are still working on supporting these claims with more accurate findings. The previous study results are still lacking and, overall, inconclusive – but scientists are working hard on finding the truth.

Nonetheless, regular alkaline water drinkers attest that the drink is making their lives better. They are willing to take measures and ditch regular tap water for alkaline, with some buying their own alkaline water ionizer for home use.

Although concrete scientific results are still lacking to prove this claim’s authenticity, here are some of the more popular perks attached to drinking alkaline water:

1. Soothes acid reflux
Alkaline water which has an 8.8 pH level is said to help in soothe acid reflux. This is because a higher pH level eradicates pepsin; the enzyme involved in the breaking down of food proteins and is also notorious for causing acid reflux.

Acid reflux is also called as heartburn, pyrosis, or acid indigestion. The phenomenon happens when acidic stomach contents go back up into the esophagus, thus creating a burning pain in the lower chest area shortly after eating. This is a growing common complication in Singapore where one in 10 people suffers from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

2. Neutralizes the acid in the bloodstream
Another commonly believed perk attached to drinking alkaline water is that it helps in neutralizing the acid in your bloodstream. In return, this increases oxygen levels and improves your metabolism along with your energy.

3. Contains antioxidant properties
Aside from potential health benefits, there are also claimed cosmetic and beauty benefits in alkaline water. Since the drink contains innate antioxidant properties, this helps slow the effects of aging on your skin as well as protects the body from various diseases. Regular consumption of alkaline water is also said to rejuvenate your skin – so if you’re wondering why supermodels and beauty gurus are drinking it, that may be one reason why!

4. Cleanses the colon
Drinking alkaline water is also believed to effectively flush out the toxins and other remaining poisons clinging inside your intestinal walls. There are several health issues sprouting from the intestines and digestive tract, so it’s essential to cleanse your colon from these harmful toxins. Accordingly, alkaline water is considered a safer and more effective option in cleansing your colon compared to other detox products.

5. Aids in weight loss
Good news for all those who are planning to shed off some pounds for their summer body! If you want to be fit, drinking alkaline water combined with proper diet and exercise is found to effectively speed up your weight loss process. High acidity in the body is notorious for storing more fat than usual. Alkalizing your body, on the contrary, breaks down the fatty cells and improves your general digestion.

Ask your fitness trainer if alkaline water can be incorporated in your diet. Chances are, regular consumption of alkaline water might just help you achieve your dream body in no time.

6. Fights fatigue
Are you prone to feeling weary and worn-out at the end of a long day at work? Alkaline water contains high oxygen content which is found to naturally boost your energy levels and fight any signs of fatigue. Having excess acid in the body leads to dehydration; weakening your blood cells and internal organs and causing fatigue.

Improving your overall health through alkaline water can be possible. The gist here is, if you maintain a healthy pH balance in your body, you will begin to feel a whole lot better. Drinking alkaline water happens to help you with that.

Note: This list is compiled in no particular order.

Prevention of Sexually-Transmitted Diseases

Sexually-transmitted diseases are considered the hidden epidemic by some medical practitioners. STDs are also silent killers because most cases don’t show symptoms until they develop into serious complications. Ignorance and misinformation about how a sexually transmitted disease is acquired contribute to the increase of STD cases. Finally, there is a stigma when getting an STD screening. While most people nowadays feel the importance of getting an annual STD testing, there are still some who fear being labeled promiscuous, an unfaithful partner or a sex worker.

Blood and Blood Products

One common misconception is the transmission of STDs. Most of the identified vectors for STDs such as viruses, bacteria and parasites can be transmitted in three methods. You cannot have STDs by talking, hugging, touching another individual or by using items touched by an infected person. You can get STDs through sexual contact, direct contact with infected blood and blood products, and mother-to-newborn transmission.

You can come into contact with infected blood if you share needles for tattooing and piercing and needles or syringes for injecting drugs. You are at risk of acquiring hepatitis B and C, HIV and others. Make sure that the tattoo or body artist is using new sterile needles and razors. Pick only reputable tattoo and piercing shops that regularly clean their equipment. Old and used needles must be disposed properly.

Infected blood from blood donors are risky especially if the donor was not screened. Fortunately, in Singapore health practitioners are required to observe hygienic procedures when using medical supplies. But to avoid infected blood, accept blood transfusion only when it’s needed and know your blood type in advance so that it’s easier to find donors.

Pregnancy and STDs

STDs that are left untreated can affect fertility and pregnancy. The baby is also at risk of getting the infection from the mother. An infected infant might suffer from low birth weight, sepsis, pneumonia, and congenital deformities. Others lead to prematurity or stillbirth. Worse, the mother could have a difficult pregnancy and labor. Pregnant women with STDs can still get proper treatment if an STD testing is included during prenatal visits. Antibiotics or antiretroviral medication may be prescribed based on the result of the STD test.

It’s also important for couples to get an STD screening together if they are planning to have a baby soon. Remember that even one sexually transmitted disease can cause complications. Ask your doctor about a vaccination for hepatitis B. Women aged 9 to 26 can also ask about HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer.

Use of Contraceptives and Barriers

Although not all types of STDs can be prevented by using contraceptives and barriers, they can still lower the risk of transmission. If you or your partner has a history of STD, don’t be afraid to get tested at STD clinic in Singapore to confirm your status. Do not engage in intimate encounters with people you don’t know. Avoid having multiple intimate partners at the same time. Sometimes an infected person doesn’t have any visible symptom on the body like sores, rashes and discharges.

Doctors recommend the use of latex condoms and water-based lubricants. People allergic to latex can use synthetic condoms instead. Try not to share undergarments and towels with your partner.You should agree to practice either abstinence or mutual monogamy. It’s important to have an honest talk with your partner especially if you have a history of STD. Talk it over if you think you should both get tested and treated at the same time.

Available Vaccines

Talk to your doctor in Singapore about the vaccines available.

1. Hepatitis A Virus. Hepatitis A vaccines are recommended for children aged 12 to 23 months. Travelers and those who are at risk of getting infected can also be vaccinated.

2. Hepatitis B Virus. Newborns can be given hepatitis B vaccines before they reach 6 months of age. The person is given 3 or 4 shots within 6 months. Adolescents not older than 19 years and adults who are at high risk of getting hepatitis B can still be vaccinated.

3. Four Types of Human Papillomavirus. There are available vaccines for 4 strains of HPV. They are recommended for people aged 11 to 26. Children between 11 and 12 years need two shots spaced between 12 months. Children older than 14 years need three shots within 6 months. Women not older than 26 years and men not more than 21 years old can still get vaccinated.

High-Risk Cases

During the initial interview before an STD test, the health care provider will ask about your medical history (especially if you have had STD in the past), lifestyle, sexual practices, number of intimate partners, and your line of work. They can point out if you belong to high-risk cases. Activities such as kissing and hand-to-genital contact are considered low-risk activities. Genital, anal and oral sex are considered high-risk activities. Unprotected sex as well as having more than one partner are also considered high-risk activities.

Get an STD Screening

A lot of people don’t even want to consider the idea of getting tested because they are ashamed. Some clinics in Singapore, however, provide privacy and anonymity to their patients. You can also purchase STD test kits for use at home and then send the sample to a laboratory for testing. But you will still need another set of tests at the hospital or clinic if the result is positive. STD screening is the only way to determine if you are infected. You will also need several tests while you’re being treated. There are different types of STD testing procedures for each sexually-transmitted disease, so be sure to talk to your doctor about the symptoms to determine which STD test is the right one for you. Get tested at least once a year especially if you are sexually active.