1 in 3 Hongkongers has indicators for heart disease

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 September, 2005, 12:00am

More than one in three adults in Hong Kong are at risk of suffering from heart disease, one of the city's major killers, taking more than 5,000 lives a year, according to a survey.

The survey this month of 487 people aged 20 and older showed 37 per cent had at least three health risk factors for developing heart disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and a family history of heart disease.

The survey by the Cardiac Patients' Mutual Support Association and two commercial firms found 16 per cent of people aged 20 to 39 had high cholesterol. The rate was 50 per cent among those aged between 50 and 59. One in five people aged 20 to 39 had high blood pressure, as did 65 per cent of people aged 60 and older.

The findings also showed that about half of the respondents were overweight and 56 per cent did not exercise regularly.

Consultant cardiologist Lau Yuk-kong, said those who had three or more risk factors were at risk of getting heart disease.

He said 30 per cent of patients with acute heart disease would die of sudden cardiac arrest. Those who survived might suffer severe complications such as serious damage to the heart and other major organs.

But Dr Lau said the disease was preventable through measures such as maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise as well as carrying out regular health checks.

However, the survey showed that only 39 per cent of people interviewed checked their cholesterol level regularly.

Dr Lau also warned of the growing trend of coronary heart disease, saying it was likely to remain a big killer in the city unless people took more effort to improve their lifestyle.

He said that the rate was comparable with many developed countries in Europe as well as in Asia, including Japan, Singapore and North Korea.

'Heart disease is no longer a geriatric disease, it is getting common for us to see patients who are in their 30s and 40s,' Dr Lau said.

According to Centre for Health Protection, heart disease took the lives of 5,309 people in 2003, second only to cancer, which killed 11,510 people.