Changing your habits can make a difference

With the number of heart attack patients going up, taking action to manage, or even prevent them, is important, said Dr Ong Sea Hing.

In Singapore, cardiovascular diseases are the second leading cause of death.

According to the latest Singapore Myocardial Infarction Registry Report, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of such patients in Singapore from 2007 to 2012.

Changi General Hospital (CGH) has seen a similar trend.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for the rise, the CGH cardiologist narrowed it down to a general increase in population, and the "gradual increase" in the number of diabetic patients.

Diabetes is one of the five risk factors for heart disease, he explained.

The others are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and genetics.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

Know what the risk factors are for heart disease and try to modify them in your life, Dr Ong advised.

"Out of the five, genetics is the only thing you can't modify," he said.

"Exercise regularly. For instance, jog three times a week. Adopt a low-fat, low-sugar diet. For smokers, it's not easy, but try to quit smoking.

"All these things really make a difference," he said.

Those who feel discomfort or pain in their chests and breathlessness should go for a check-up so they can start managing their condition earlier, said Dr Ong.