It’s easy to get swept up in the hectic pace of Hong Kong’s lifestyle. As an international city, working in Hong Kong usually involves a lot of travel and being available across different time zones. Add in family commitments and a busy social calendar with wining and dining, and it can all add up to a lot of stress. This lifestyle can take its toll in many ways, so it’s important not to ignore the signs your body may be under pressure. One of these may be if you are experiencing chest pains, which can be an indicator of heart disease.
Heart disease is the third leading cause of death in Hong Kong, and, in a worrying trend, doctors are seeing younger patients presenting with heart problems, due in part to the city’s work hard, play hard culture. Heart disease encompasses a wide range of heart conditions, but the most life-threatening is coronary artery disease which may lead to heart attacks. In Hong Kong, 11 people a day die of a heart attack. So, what causes heart problems, how can you reduce the risk, and where can you go for help if you believe you are experiencing symptoms?
Causes, signs and symptoms
Coronary artery disease occurs when cholesterol layers deposit on the inner wall of coronary arteries and narrow the arteries. The process reduces blood supply to cardiac muscle and causes chest pain on exertion known as angina. When there is sudden blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot because of rupture of atherosclerotic plaque inside the coronary artery, it causes a heart attack.
Signs of coronary heart disease can be crushing chest pain, brought on by physical exertion and relieved by rest. The pain may radiate to the arm, shoulder, neck and jaw. It is of greater severity and longer duration in a heart attack. Other symptoms include palpitation, dizziness, sweating, nausea and weakness. Some may present with epigastric pain, mistaken as gastric problem.
Causes can include high blood pressure, a high cholesterol diet, smoking, diabetes mellitus, obesity, lack of physical activity and chronic stress. Family history of the disease also increases the risk.
Some easy ways to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease include not smoking and following a balanced diet avoiding high avoiding high saturated and high trans fat food. Regular physical activity, avoiding weight gain, and reducing stress are also beneficial. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum and people with conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes should have regular medical check-ups.
Where to get help
There are many causes for chest pain; if you’re experiencing one, it’s time to get help. Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital has specialised services where you can receive a comprehensive examination. The Chest Pain Investigation all-inclusive medical packages include an echocardiogram, treadmill and/or CT coronary angiogram. Our doctors will select the right package to best suit your condition, and the package already includes doctors’ fees, room charges (standard room), equipment, nursing procedures charges, etc.
Gleneagles is a private hospital located in Wong Chuk Hang with 500 beds and a range of clinical services spanning more than 35 specialties and sub-specialties. It offers all-inclusive and fixed price medical packages as part of its efforts to provide price assurance. To reach Gleneagles, a free shuttle bus operates between the hospital and Ocean Park MTR Station which takes only 3 minutes to arrive, with 10- to 20-minute intervals.
Staff speak Cantonese, Putonghua and English, and translation services can be provided.
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