Routine check blood pressure helps warn of heart attacks

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Officials must first screen the blood pressure of Covid-19 vaccination candidates. (IO/Dumaz Artadi)

Jakarta, IO – Heart disease is still the top cause of death globally, and in Indonesia as well. In the “Myths and Facts Concerning Heart Disease” live IG session held on Monday (29/8/2022), dr. Ni Made Ayu Wulan Sari, Sp.JP(K), FIHA, M.Biomed., of Ngoerah Central General Hospital, Denpasar, Bali, declared that heart attacks generally occur because of accumulated cholesterol in the body, which later obstructs our blood vessels. 

“Because of the obstruction, the blood flow no longer becomes smooth. Yes, we need cholesterol, but we need to monitor the types that we consume. LDL cholesterol must be controlled because it causes a deleterious effect on the blood vessels, unlike HDL. One thing for sure: cholesterol is generated from our food intake. Not all fats are bad, some fats are good for us to consume. Therefore, screen your cholesterol routinely, so you know which one to raise, which one to lower,” dr. Ayu said. 

Other than cholesterol, cigarettes are also a risk factor for heart attacks. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes will generate plaque in the blood vessels over the long term. “Serious smokers, those who smoke beyond social reasons, have as high a risk for heart attack as the elderly. I had a patient who suffered a heart attack while he was only 40. When I delved further, he admitted to have been smoking since his youth. I cannot repeat it often enough: smokers have a much higher risk of heart attack than non-smokers,” dr. Ayu said. 

The treatability of heart attacks is time-related: “The quicker you diagnose the illness, the quicker you get treated, and the better your prognosis of avoiding death. Even though it is frequently mistaken for a stomach ulcer or gas, a heart attack actually causes characteristic chest pains: it would be located in the middle to left part of the chest; it would feel as if your chest were being pressed or gripped, accompanied with a sense of heat for more than 20 minutes; and it would spread out to your back, jaws, and left arm. You might also have cold sweat or vomiting. Don’t wait! Get to a doctor for treatment at once!” dr. Ayu said.