HEART DISEASE has long been the No2 killer in Hong Kong, according to information provided by the Department of Health.
The World Health Report, published by the World Health Organisation, states that 'in developed countries, heart disease and strokes are the first and second leading causes of death for men and women'.
In a seminar organised by Vita Green Health Products earlier this year, it was stated that the westernised diet, which had become increasingly popular in Hong Kong, was increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
'Predominance of meat, deep frying and barbecuing in the western diet ... and heavy consumption of fast-food also gives rise to high blood lipid levels. Coupled with a fast-paced life with little exercise, [it is] no wonder Hong Kong people are facing a rising incidence of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and strokes,' Vita Green managing director Helen Chan said.
Tse Tak-fu, president of the First Global Conference on Cardiovascular Clinical Trials and Pharmacotherapy 2004, said: 'When we talk about heart disease we usually mean coronary heart disease. The two terms are almost equivalent, because coronary heart disease is the most common heart disease,' he said. 'Coronary heart disease is becoming more common mainly because of the ageing population in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, there are younger patients who suffer from coronary heart disease.
'People are becoming richer and have better food. They have highly stressed lives and less exercise. All these are the causes.'
According to Care for Your Heart Cardiac Patients Mutual Support Association, risk factors of coronary heart disease include smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, physical inactivity, obesity, uncontrolled stress, high saturated fat and cholesterol diet, and too much alcohol.
Coronary artery disease - the narrowing or blockage of the arteries and vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the heart - is caused by atherosclerosis, an accumulation of fatty materials on the inner linings of arteries.
The resulting blockage restricts blood flow to the heart. A heart attack is the result of the blood flow being completely cut off.
Dr Tse said to prevent coronary heart disease, people should stop smoking, eat low-cholesterol food and use less salt and sugar. Salt will increase blood pressure and too much sugar may result in diabetes.