- May I know if chocolate will help in reducing hypertension? (Asked by Anonymous)
There are several studies that evaluated the effects of eating chocolates and lowering blood pressure. Overall, there is a small drop (2 to 3 mmHg) of blood pressure. But the amount eaten varied from 3 to 105 grammes. So we are unsure regarding the amount that needs to be taken. Furthermore, there may be considerable weight gain if the chocolates are sweetened. Therefore, eating chocolate to lower blood pressure, currently, is not routinely recommended.
[Replied by Dr Mak Koon Hou]
- How is heart rate and blood pressure related? And does a fast heart rate cause low blood pressure? (Asked by Jasmine Lau)
Blood pressure increases when the heart rate is increased in normal circumstances. When the heart rate is too fast, the heart is unable to fill up with enough blood, resulting in a lower blood pressure. For example, if the patient has atrial filbrillation with too rapid ventricular rate, the blood pressure will fall.
[Replied by Dr Tan Yong Seng]
- What should be done for a healthy heart and to prevent heart disease? (Asked by Shantanu Srivastava)
Many risk factors for heart disease are related to lifestyle. Hence it is possible to lower your risk by living a heart healthy life. The important steps are:
* Heart healthy diet: SHF advocates the "3-5-7" Heart Healthy diet; emphasising on the 3 "Highs" - fibres, freshness and plant-based protein; the 5 "Lows" - fats, cholesterol, salt, sugar and alcohol; and 70% fullness for each meal.
* Regular exercise in a safe manner - for example, a 3 km walk 5 times a week.
* Stop cigarette smoking or better still, do not start at all.
* Know the normal numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and body mass index. Make sure you monitor your own numbers regularly.
* Do check out the Nutrition and Exercise Tips on our website.
[Replied by Dr Goh Ping Ping]
- a. What does 2:1 fast heart block mean? (Asked by Jasmine Lau)
It means that the heart is beating at a very fast rate and only every other electrical impulse from the atria (upper chamber of the heart) is conducted down to the ventricles (lower chamber of the heart). This is because the electrical conducting system cannot cope with such a fast heart rate and only conducts one in every two heart beats.
b. What is fast ventricular tachycardia?
Fast ventricular tachycardia is fast heart beat (>100 beats per minute) which comes from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles); the normal heart beat comes from the upper chamber of the heart and conducts down to the ventricles.
c. Is Arrhythmia dangerous and does it require treatment?
It depends on the type of arrhythmia. Some types of ventricular arrhythmias can be dangerous and require emergency treatment (such as a DC shock from a defibrillator), while others may be managed with medication or a catheter ablation procedure.
[Replied by Dr Reginald Liew]
Is heart valve replacement surgery risky? (Asked by Zhuo Si Bao)
Over 700,000 heart valve surgeries are done across the world in a year. Generally, the risk of mortality with heart valve surgery is less than 2%. However, it depends on the age of the patient, the degree of damage done to the heart caused by the valve disease, and whether the patient has any other illness (such as chronic lung disease, kidney disease, etc.). For instance, if the patient is over 65 years old, the risk is higher in the region of 4%.
[Replied by Dr C Sivathasan]