Statistics on heart disease in Sarawak worrying

MIRI: Heart disease is a worrying trend in Sarawak with about 30,000 people or one per cent of its total population of about three million having undergone tests and diagnosis at SGH’s Sarawak Heart Centre.

The centre’s consultant cardiologist Dr Alan Fong Yean swk_pg07swkgh1Yip said the figure was only the tip of an iceberg, adding that referrals were also picking up.

“In terms of treatment it provides unblocking, bypass operation and putting in pacemarkers on the patients. We have done 1,500 so far this year.

“This number again is the tip of an iceberg and with improved infrastructure the demand for treatment will go up,” Dr Fong told a joint press conference with Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kian Hui here yesterday.

Mayor of Miri City Council Adam Yii, Miri Hospital director Dr Jack Wong and Dr Lau Kent Ter were also present.

Dr Sim, who is formerly the centre’s consultant, said the way forward for Sarawak was not to build many heart centres or hospitals.

“What is important is for everyone to know the risk of having a heart attack which can be prevented from occurring early in one’s life.

“One can have a heart attack as early as in one’s 20s and as we grow older there will be more blockages in our arteries.

“Thus the way forward is not to build many heart centres but to discipline ourselves. Eat and exercise correctly, check cholesterol level and blood pressure and stop smoking. All these you can do yourselves,” he said

Dr Sim said the majority of Sarawakians were spending more money on their food than exercising and having regular health checks, causing them to become obese, which leads to many other health problems.

In view of this, greater awareness on heart disease was important and in conjunction with World Heart Week, the centre was organising various programmes in the state, he added.

In northern Sarawak, a team of doctors are conducting programme on the correct usage of an electrocardiogram (ECG) – a simple test that can be used to check heart’s rhythm and electrical activity, at Miri, Marudi and Limbang hospitals.

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