High risk of heart disease

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 November, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 November, 1993, 12:00am

WORRIED about your heart? Concerned you might be a high-risk candidate for coronary disease? If you want to find out what your risk rating is, you should head straight for the Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) stand at the Expo 2001 health pavilion.

MSD has set up a ''wellness centre'', to offer a free cardiovascular screening programme for health-conscious visitors and will provide each participant with a computer-generated coronary risk profile.

The main aim is to raise public awareness about the dangers of high cholesterol levels and the increasing risk of heart attacks and premature death from coronary disease.

Although one of the major causes of death in the world's industrialised countries, an alarming number of people carry the initial symptoms for some time without realising they are at risk, according to MSD.

People taking part in the screening programme will be asked to complete a questionnaire covering health history, exercise levels, dietary habits and stress levels.

As well as their own risk profile, everyone taking part will also be given suggestions on improving their personal well-being.

According to Dr Lau Chu-pak - senior lecturer in medicine, chief division of cardiology, at Hong Kong University - heart disease is the second biggest killer in the territory, after cancer.

Almost 4,900 people died of heart disease in 1991.

''There is an increasing incidence of heart disease in Hong Kong,'' Dr Lau said.

''It will become more acute by the year 2001. The population of Hong Kong is ageing and with age comes a higher risk of coronary artery disease.

''If we do not act aggressively now, we may face an epidemic of heart attacks in the year 2001.'' Dr Lau said there was a much greater awareness of the role of high cholesterol levels and heart disease and that lowering fat levels was vital to reducing cholesterol.

The best way to do this was by changing the diet and avoiding excessive intake of meat, animal fats and oils, dairy products and egg yolk, Dr Lau said.

Other risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and lack of exercise should also be controlled.

Having a family history of early heart disease is also a possible risk factor for developing heart problems.