Alarm raised as youngsters in 20s hit by cardiovascular disease

Azlan Othman

More and more youngsters are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in the country. These include youth in their 20s and 30s.

Genetic and environmental factors, and sedentary lifestyles are among the causes for this.

Meanwhile, heart diseases are the second leading cause of death in the country after cancer. Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level result in the blockages to heart vessels causing heart attack.

These were highlighted at the Cardiovascular Forum (Our Heart Matters) held in conjunction with World Heart Day 2019 at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Gleneagles Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) Awangku Muhammad Nadzir bin Pengiran Mohd Juanda referring to a heart attack said “it is like elephant sitting on the chest” while the symptoms include shortness of breath, swollen leg and irregular heart rhythm.

Endocrinologist at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital Dr Lina Chong said when a person reaches 40 years heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are common.

These are caused by obesity, high cholesterol intake and high intake of sugar which is not uncommon in Brunei, she said.

“We have seen Type 2 diabetes in the young age group as well,” Dr Lina said.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman at the event. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

Dietician at Gleneagles JPMC Norarfah binti Mohd Taib said a person who has a normal body mass index (BMI) but continues to take processed food and eats out, will see an increase in the cholesterol level.

“We will not realise this until we carry out a medical check-up,” she said.

She cited an example of a 19-year-old man who did not smoke, was very active physically but ate lot of fast food, sometimes three to five times a week.

“He later had a heart attack,” she said.

“There was not much processed food available 30 to 40 years ago. The older generation had to go fishing to catch fish and do other things unlike today. Today, it is a different lifestyle as food is easily available with the drive-through concept,” she said.

The MoH in collaboration with Gleneagles JPMC held the Cardiovascular Forum. Permanent Secretary at the MoH Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman was the guest of honour.

The forum entitled ‘Our Heart Matters’ was chaired by Lecturer at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), Universiti of Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Dr Deeni Rudita Idris.

The forum is a continuation of the ‘Workplace and Health Session 2019’ programme launched on August 26, 2019 by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Md Isham bin Haji Jaafar.

The target groups for this forum were public servants at the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, MoH and Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications.

The purpose of this forum was to raise awareness among public servants on the importance of a healthy heart; educating civil servants on measures to prevent heart disease; and how to increase the knowledge of the civil service to identify risks and early signs of heart disease including heart attacks.

Also present during the forum were Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif; heads of departments, senior officers, officers and staff of the MoH.