| Lyna Mohamad |
AS PART of its national campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases, the Ministry of Health yesterday continued its series of health talks with a discourse on Heart Disease among the Community and its Prevention at the Al-‘Afiah Hall of the Ministry of Health.
The talk was presented by the Senior Medical Officer at the Department of Cardiology, RIPAS Hospital, Dr Francis Lim, who talked about cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in general, its statistics, preventive measures, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and high blood pressure.
Dr Francis Lim also enlightened the audience on the causes of heart diseases and its prevention as well as the risk factors – smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet and overweight.
He pointed out that the prevalence of tobacco smoking in the country is among the highest in high-income countries. Nearly one third or 32 per cent of adult males smoke in Brunei and smoking has been associated with increased rate of mortality from several diseases.
Dr Francis Lim added that smoking is known to be responsible for 90 per cent of all lung cancer cases, 75 per cent of chronic bronchitis and emphysema and 25 per cent of ischaemic heart disease globally.
He said a substantial number of deaths due to these diseases can be attributed to tobacco smoking, which increases by two to three times, the risk of death from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. The risk also increases with age and is greater for women than for men.
In contrast, cardiac events fall 50 per cent in people who stop smoking and the risk of CVDs, including acute myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, also decreases significantly after stopping smoking.
Continuing to smoke after myocardial infarction or coronary revascularisation can have serious clinical consequences.
Even eight years after myocardial infarction, the mortality of patients who continue to smoke is double that of quitters.
Further, those who do not stop smoking after coronary revascularisation also have a two-fold higher risk of re-infarction and death.
On the risk factors, Dr Lim also explained how it can be prevented or how to have the risk factors reduced.
He also discussed ways to prevent non-communicable diseases in Brunei as well as the actions that the Ministry of Health has been taking.
He also shared some key guidelines for generally healthy children and adolescents aged five to 17 years, generally healthy adults aged 18 to 64 years and generally healthy elderly adults aged above 65.
According to the medical expert, there are five types of physical activity for healthy children, adolescents and adults – light, moderate and vigorous intensities, and muscle and bone strengthening.
For overall cardiovascular health, one should at least do 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity for at least five days or at least 25 minutes of vigorous intensity activity for at least three days or a combination of both.
For additional health benefits, one may do moderate to high intensity at least two days a week.
Doing an average of 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activities for at least three or four days per week helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, he added.
Meanwhile, the most important behavioural risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use of tobacco and alcohol.
Behavioural risk factors are responsible for about 80 per cent of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease cases.
The effects of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity may increase blood pressure, blood glucose, blood lipids, and can cause obesity. These are called “intermediate risk factors” or metabolic risk factors, he said.
Following the talk, the attendees that comprised invited students from secondary schools and colleges as well as officers from several government departments and ministries, had the opportunity to undergo a free health screening at the hall.