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Back-to-basics: heart attacks

Back to basics heart attacks – Live Great – Great Eastern Life

It’s called a heart attack for a reason. When the blood flow to the heart is disrupted by a clot in the blood vessels, the pain that results can feel like a war in the chest.

One of the most common causes of a heart attack is coronary artery disease (CAD) or atherosclerosis. This refers to the narrowing of the arteries caused by the build-up of fatty deposits in the artery walls due to high levels of LDL-cholesterol ('bad' cholesterol).

Other factors that may contribute to the development of CAD include:

  • High blood pressure (which may be a consequence of medical problems, but is more often due to lifestyle issues, including being obese, being physically inactive, and eating a high salt diet).
  • High triglyceride levels (high levels of fat in the blood)
  • High levels of a compound called homocysteine
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Getting older
  • Being diabetic
  • Having a personal or family history of heart problems (genetics)
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle

Congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart weakens and becomes unable to effectively perform its functions, is a serious consequence of CAD. As heart function declines, fluid accumulates in the abdomen, legs, and lungs, causing the characteristic symptoms of fatigue, oedema and breathlessness

Signs and risk factors
It is not uncommon for the first sign of a heart problem to be a heart attack or stroke. However there are often other clues. These include:

  • Elevated blood cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Pain in the chest that feels tight, squeezing or constricting. The pain may also be experienced in other parts of the body, including the jaw, arms, back and neck, and may be accompanied by nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Call for an ambulance, even if you’re not sure that a heart attack has occurred. Rapid medical intervention is essential.
  • An irregular, rapid or fluttery heartbeat
  • Oedema (fluid retention) of the abdomen and lower limbs
  • Becoming breathless easily, even when you’re not performing strenuous activities. You may also feel wheezy or cough frequently.
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Increased sweating cardiovascular health
  • Symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, headache (especially first thing in the morning), nosebleed, nausea or erectile dysfunction may indicate high blood pressure.
  • Over the long term, high cholesterol levels may cause deposits of cholesterol to form in the tendons (xanthoma) or eyelids (xanthelasma), and/or discolouration of the outer edge of the cornea (arcussenilis).

Heart problems can have extremely serious consequences, but in many cases adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk. Looking for natural ways to prevent or reduce the risk of a heart attack? Read on

Heart problems are serious and require professional treatment and monitoring. Do not make any changes to your medication use, supplements, diet or lifestyle without prior consultation with your healthcare professional.

This article is published courtesy of Blackmores Singapore Pte Ltd.


For Singapore consumers, please call 6225 3933 ext 2 or email for more information and free health advice.

For Malaysian consumers, please call 03-7955 0993 or email for more information and free health advice.

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Great Eastern Holdings Ltd | The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited | Great Eastern General Insurance Ltd