Get Smart With Your Heart
Three weeks ago, we had our first-ever instalment of Home Health with Speedoc, a webinar series that endeavours to make healthcare information easy to understand and accessible to all.
The webinar, titled “Matters of the Heart – from Controlling Calories to Combatting COVID-19”, invited Dr Michael MacDonald, senior consultant cardiologist at The Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre to share on how COVID-19 could affect heart disease patients, how to keep your heart healthy amidst this global pandemic, and more.
If you missed the webinar, click here to watch the recording in full. Here are some highlights and notes from the session.
The classic symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain or tightness, breathlessness, sweating, or a general feeling of discomfort. However, as symptoms vary largely between individuals, Dr MacDonald shared that the best solution is to see a doctor and get assessed if you have any concerns.
Your risk of heart attack increases with age, and this risk increases further if you smoke or have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Dr MacDonald highlighted that it does not mean that you will definitely have a heart condition if you are diabetic, but your risk will be higher than someone who does not have diabetes. Always make sure that your condition is well-managed, try to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your blood pressure, and be mindful of the side effects of diabetes.
Heart attacks are the number one killer of both men and women. Women simply tend to suffer a heart attack about 10 years later in life compared to men as they are protected by estrogen until they reach menopause. Always pay attention to the signals your body is sending you; do not disregard or brush off heart attack symptoms because you think that women do not get heart attacks.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats paired with olive oil, and can help you maintain a healthy weight, protect against type 2 diabetes, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s on top of improving your heart health. The DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was designed as a lifelong approach to healthy eating to prevent or treat hypertension. Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet is also rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grains. This diet also aims to reduce the amount of sodium in one’s daily diet for heart health. However, if you find it hard to follow these diets closely, Dr MacDonald says that the most important thing to keep in mind is to maintain a balanced diet.
We are all equally at risk of COVID-19, but those with a heart condition (such as high blood pressure or a history of heart attack) are more likely to have more severe symptoms if infected. Therefore, it is important to heed the advice of your cardiologist and doctors and take your prescribed medications as instructed to make sure your condition is stable and well-controlled. Maintain hand hygiene, stay home as much as possible, and adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
Dr Michael MacDonald is one of the specialists joining the Speedoc network of doctors to provide you with mobile specialist services on top of GP services. You can now schedule cardiologist follow-ups, teleconsultations, ECGs, and echo scans to be conducted in the comfort of your home with Dr MacDonald! Simply make an appointment using our online system, download our app on the App Store or Google Play Store, or contact our hotline at +65 8180 8948.