Indians in general have a higher propensity to die from heart attacks and strokes than any other ethnic community in Singapore.
While cancer is the no.1 killer for Singaporeans in general, the leading cause of death for Singapore Indians is cardiovascular diseases.
What is the reason for this? Are we somehow genetically predisposed to heart disease? After all, the statistics on death of our cousins in the Indian subcontinent bear out cardiovascular diseases (i.e. heart attacks, strokes) to be the top mortality risk as well, being the cause of death of 1 in 4 Indians as a whole.
Perhaps. But most likely not.
The real reason that cardiovascular diseases strike Indians in Singapore or for that matter anyone anywhere can be found in the nature of our diet and our lifestyles. A Caucasian, a Malay, a Chinese or an African is more or less as likely as any of us to contract cardiovascular disease if he eats and lives like us.
Our carbohydrate-heavy meals as well as the copious amounts of sugar we consume, in the form of sweet meats, tea tariks and other dairy products are the chief causes of diabetes, high triglycerides and high low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (aka ‘bad’ cholesterol). Conversely, these types of foods also cause high density lipoprotein (HLD) cholesterol (aka ‘good’ cholesterol) to go down, the type of cholesterol that cleans your arteries. The result plaque buildup in your arteries is what ultimately contributes to heart attacks and strokes.
That is one half of the equation. The other half of the equation is lifestyle. Most Singaporeans, given our work pressures and deadlines, find it hard to get regular exercise to work off the calories we consume. Consequentially, obesity is another contributor to type 2 diabetes. Yet other aspects of lifestyle include lack of quality sleep, stress and smoking.
Today, there is a general lack of awareness about what it takes to prevent heart disease and stroke. Many people simply don’t know that once cholesterol plaque has accumulated in your arteries it is there to stay. By the time you realise it, the damage is already done.
We need to educate ourselves and also educate our progeny, so that they don’t make the same mistakes. If you are in your 40s and 50s it may also be useful to do a stress test or x-ray to determine the extent of the cholesterol plaque in your heart and to assess whether you’re an accident waiting to happen.
Comment on this Topic