Learn about the heart
29 March, 2018, 12:00 am
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Fiji and worldwide. Coronary obstruction (blockages in the arteries around the heart) is a result of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) due to cholesterol filled deposits (“plaque”) inside the arteries.
Heart attacks occur when the blood vessels are further blocked with clot stopping the blood flow altogether and leading to heart muscle damage and heart malfunction, and sometimes death.
Risk factors for coronary blockages include family history of the same, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Smoking is a major contributor. Symptoms of heart blockages are generally chest pain or shortness of breath. Some patients may have vague or even no symptoms.
Lifestyle approaches including regular exercise, healthy eating and stopping smoking are effective in lower risk patients without symptoms.
Higher risk patients often require tablets for their risk conditions (e.g. high blood pressure) and may need appropriate heart check ups.
Tests such as ECGs (heart tracings), echocardiograms (heart ultrasound) or stress tests (treadmills) are often needed. If a blockage is suspected then blood vessels need to be looked at with angiograms when blockages can be treated with stents at the same time.
If you have heart concerns at least start by seeing your GP or come and see us at Heart International in Namaka, Nadi where our New Zealand specialists provide these services at the same quality you get overseas but delivered here in Fiji at a fraction of the cost.